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■*1  L^ 

<'/  l>m 



University  of  Horth  Cairolina. 

Endowefl  by  the  Dialectic  and  Philanthropic 

Call  No.    Q.,  '^  X-J^  _^  VA"  W\. 


This  book  is  due  on  the  last  date  stamped 
below  unless  recalled  sooner.    It  may  be 
renewed  only  once  and  must  be  brought  to 
the  North  Carolina  Collection  for  renewal. 

Form  No.  A-369 

I.      •   1  f-.,..''-.!-^^,- 










Copyright,  1906,  by 
George  W.  Jacobs  &  Company 
Published^  October,  igo6 

All  rights  reserved 
Printed  in  U.  S.  A. 


I.  The  Accident 9 

II.  The  Home- Coming  .        .        ,        .  29 

III.  The  Surprise  o        ....  43 

IV.  Beth  Meets  Carol  ....  65 
V.  Eueur  Eeturns  Eiderless    .        .  89 

VI.  The  Deserted  Cabin       .        .        .  105 

Vn.  Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth   .  127 

VIII.  The  ''  Wicked  Woman  "         .        .153 

IX.  Don 163 

X.  An  Angel  of  Mercy       .        .        .  177 

XL  Beth' s  Plan 201 

Xn.  The  Dark  Corner  .        .        «        .  219 

Xni.  Carol's  Father       .        .        .        .  231 

XIV.  The  Entertainment       .        .        .  257 

XV.  Camping 291 

XVI.  Duke  is  Missing     ....  315 

XVII.  Northward  Bound  ....  341 




*^  Wouldn^t  they  make  nice  sweet- 
hearts for  Gustus^^         .        .   Facing  page    16 

*^  How  well  you  look  in  your  cadet 

uniform"        .         .  .        . 

"Here    comes   Gustus,  bringing 

your  mule"    .        .  .        . 

Beth      •                 •        •  •        • 

"  Let's  make  candy  " 

"It'll  look  nice  to  see  chickens 
about  the  place  "    . 

The  Davenport  Camp  .  •        • 





The  Accident 

Notwithstanding  that  Beth  Davenport  was 
born  North  and  had  lived  in  Florida  only  a  few- 
years,  yet  the  Southland  was  home  to  her  and 
she  loved  it  very  dearly. 

"  Oh,  you  needn't  talk,"  said  Harvey  Baker, 
her  best  boy  friend  and  a  great  tease,  "  you're  a 
little  Northerner  through  and  through." 

Whereupon  her  eyes  snapped  and  she  even 
stamped  her  foot.  "  I  feel  like  a  Southerner  and 
that  makes  me  one,"  she  cried. 

Therefore  she  was  vastly  pleased  when  her 
father  bought  a  summer  home  up  in  the  moun- 
tainous region  of  North  Carolina.  By  spending 
the  summers  as  well  as  the  winters  South,  she 
hoped  to  appear  more  of  a  Southerner  than  ever. 

She  was  a  great  lover  of  dogs,  owning  a 
number  of  them,  and  at  first  expected  to  take  all 
her  pets  with  her,  but  her  father  vetoed  this  plan. 

"It's  out  of  the  question,  Beth,  our  taking 
more  than  one  dog  to  Tremont  with  us." 

"  Then  I'll  take  Duke,  of  course,"  she  answered, 
without  an  instant's  hesitation.  "  There  isn't 
another  dog  like  him  in  all  the  world." 

1 2  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Bad  as  it  was  to  leave  her  pets  behind,  parting 
from  her  friends  was  even  worse,  especially  as 
she  had  little  hope  of  seeing  them  for  six  months 
or  more.  Saying  good-bye  to  Harvey  Baker  and 
to  Julia  Gordon  was  the  greatest  wrench. 

"I — I  didn't  know  how  fond  I  was  of  them 
until  it  came  to  leaving  them  for  so  long,"  Beth 
confessed  to  her  sixteen-year-old  sister,  Marian, 
after  they  were  settled  on  the  cars. 

Never  did  a  journey  seem  so  long  as  that  one 
to  Beth.  First  one  delay  and  then  another  oc- 
curred, so  that  at  Spartanburg,  South  Carolina, 
where  there  was  another  wait,  this  time  for  the 
South  bound  train  to  pass,  they  were  seven 
hours  behind  time,  due  mostly  to  severe  storms 
that  had  caused  washouts  along  the  way. 

Hardly  had  the  train  come  to  a  standstill  before 
Beth  was  out  on  the  platform.  For  a  moment 
she  paused,  not  only  for  her  father  to  catch  up 
with  her,  but  to  look  eagerly  around. 

The  March  skv  was  still  of  a  leaden  hue 
although  temporarily  the  rain  had  ceased  ;  but  a 
streak  of  lightning  flashed  across  the  west,  fol- 
lowed by  a  low,  threatening  grumble.  Yet 
neither  the  menacing  state  of  the  weather  nor 
the  muddy,  rain-soaked  clay  roadway  had  kept 
people  from  congregating  around  the  depot. 
Clay-bespattered  horses  and  queer  vehicles  were 
lined  along  a  railing  while  the  natives  themselves 
clustered  around  the  incoming  train. 

The  Accident  13 

Suddenly  Beth  realized  that  the  coming  sum- 
mer was  to  reveal  an  entirely  unfamiliar  South 
to  her.  The  prospect  made  her  heart  thrill ;  she 
did  so  love  new  experiences.  But  the  mountain- 
eers were  very  queer  looking  people,  she  thought. 

"  Papa,"  began  Beth  as  she  and  Mr.  Davenport 
walked  toward  the  baggage  car,  "  I'm  so  glad 
we're  to  spend  ttie  summer  in  the  mountains.  I 
expect  to  have  just  a  grand  time !  " 

Her  father  smiled  in  sympathy  with  her  mood. 
"  You  generally  do  have  a  good  time,  Beth." 

The  baggageman  in  charge  of  Duke  was 
evidently  expecting  them.  He  stood  in  the  open 
doorway  holding  the  dog  by  a  great  chain. 

At  sight  of  Beth,  Duke  tried  to  leap  down  to 
her,  but  a  quick  pull  brought  him  to  a  standstill 
with  his  feet  in  mid-air. 

"Aha,  old  fellow,  I'm  on  to  your  tricks,"  said 
the  man. 

"  Please,  please  let  him  come  out,"  begged 
Beth  in  the  manner  that  very  few  denied. 

The  instant  Duke  was  free,  with  a  leap  and  a 
bark,  he  was  beside  his  young  mistress.  Then  he 
bounded  ahead,  looking  back  longingly  inviting 
her  to  a  frolic  with  him.  Only  for  a  moment 
did  she  resist  the  challenge.  She  feared  she  was 
a  little  too  old  for  such  sport  in  sight  of  strangers, 
but,  being  still  somewhat  of  a  tomboy,  she  threw 
prudence  to  the  winds  and  flew  up  the  platform, 
after  him. 

H  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"Don't  be  gone  long,"  cautioned  Mr.  Daven- 

"  Beth,"  called  a  voice  from  the  day  coach 
"  Beth ! " 

"  Why,  Marian,  what  are  you  doing  in  there  ?  " 
answered  Beth,  surprised  to  see  Marian  leaning 
out  of  an  open  window. 

"  It  was  stuffy  in  the  sleeper.  Bring  Duke  in 
here  a  minute." 

So  Beth  led  Duke  into  the  day  coach  where 
she  perched  herself  on  the  arm  of  the  seat 
beside  her  sister,  still  holding  Duke  by  the  collar. 

"  It's  nice  in  here.  You  get  mamma,  and  I'll 
bring  papa  back  with  me,  and  we'll  stay  until 
we  reach  Tremont,"  proposed  Beth  who  always 
enjoyed  a  change. 

"  All  right,"  agreed  Marian. 

Duke,  growing  restless,  pulled  on  his  collar,  so 
Beth  took  him  outside  once  more  and  let  him  go 
free.  Whereupon  he  ran  to  the  end  of  the  plat- 
form as  wildly  glad  as  if  hounding  game.  His 
feet  hardly  seemed  to  touch  the  platform,  and 
Beth  enjoyed  chasing  after  him,  her  cheeks 
flushed  and  her  eyes  dancing  with  joy.  As  she 
turned  to  run  back,  the  South  bound  train  came 
into  sight,  so  she  called  Duke  to  her  and  patting 
his  head  said : 

"  Now  Duke,  you've  got  to  go  in  the  baggage 
car  a  little  while  longer.  Even  if  you  do  hate 
it  in  there,  you're  not  sorry  you  came.     You  do 

The  Accident  15 

as  I  say  about  everything.  You'd  do  anything 
for  me,  wouldn't  you  ?  " 

A  wag  of  his  tail  in  answer  made  Beth  more 
sure  than  ever  that  he  knew  her  meaning.  To 
her  he  was  human  in  his  intelligence,  and,  in 
fact,  she  was  not  far  wrong. 

At  the  baggage  car,  Duke  drew  back  quivering 
as  the  man  started  to  put  on  the  chain. 

"  He'll  not  mind  so  much  if  I  put  it  on  him," 
Beth  said,  but  as  she  leaned  over  Duke  she 
noted  a  bad  sore  under  his  collar. 

"  Oh,  the  chain's  cut  the  poor  fellow,"  she  said 
with  a  catch  in  her  throat.  As  a  usual  thing 
she  did  not  cry  easily,  but  to  have  those  hurt 
whom  she  loved,  humankind  or  beast,  made  her 
indignant,  and  then  the  tears  came  unbidden. 

"  He  mustn't  be  chained  again.  He'll  be  very 
good  if  he  goes  free  the  rest  of  the  way.  Prom- 
ise me  you'll  be  good,  Duke." 

He  barked  in  answer,  whereupon  Beth  smiled 
confidingly  at  the  man.  "  He  says  he'll  be  good. 
You'll  not  put  that  horrid  chain  on  him,  will 
you  ?  " 

"  No,  I  guess  I  can  let  him  go  without  it,"  the 
man  answered. 

"  All  aboard,"  cried  the  conductor. 

Mr.  Davenport  came  up  just  then  and  he  and 
Beth  hurried  toward  their  car.  "  Oh,  mamma 
and  Marian  were  to  be  in  here,"  said  Beth  at  the 
steps  of  the  day  coach,  and  skipped  ahead  con- 

1 6  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

ducting  her  father  to  where  the  other  two  mem- 
bers of  the  family  were  seated. 

"  Look,  papa,"  Beth  cried  with  her  face 
pressed  eagerly  against  the  glass  as  the  train 
pulled  out  into  the  open  country. 

On  a  low  wooden  porch  in  front  of  a  cabin, 
sat  five  little  colored  girls  all  in  a  row.  The  end 
one  grinned  and  hung  her  head,  and  the  others 
too,  smiled  at  the  passing  train. 

"  Wouldn't  they  make  nice  sweethearts  for 
Gustus  ! "  exclaimed  Beth. 

Gustus  was  her  especial  protege.  She  it  was 
who  had  discovered  him  when  a  ragged  young 
urchin  a  number  of  years  before,  and  ever  since 
he  had  worked  for  the  Davenports  in  Florida. 

"  Gustus  would  choose  one  of  the  end  ones,  as 
they  are  the  jolliest,"  answered  Mr.  Davenport. 

"  It's  already  growing  so  dark  that  I  can 
hardly  see,"  Beth  said  a  moment  later.  "  I  wish 
we  had  reached  Tremont  in  the  morning  as  we 
should  have  done.  I  hate  so  many  horrid  old 
delays."  Her  petulance  was  only  momentary. 
'*  I  wonder  if  Maggie  will  be  down  at  the  train  to 
meet  us,"  and  a  happy  smile  illumined  her  face 
at  the  thought  of  seeing  again  their  old  colored 
servant  who  had  been  sent  ahead  to  get  their 
home  in  readiness  for  them. 

Once  more  she  tried  to  peer  through  the  fast 
gathering  darkness,  but  the  windows  blurred  so 
that  in  a  few  minutes  she  gave  up  the  attempt. 



TTie  Accident  17 

"  It's  raining  again,"  she  murmured,  and,  rest- 
lessness seizing  upon  her,  she  flounced  across  to 
an  opposite  seat.  Having  nothing  to  amuse  her 
made  her  so  sleepy  that  she  yawned.  Then  her 
dark,  curly  head  nodded.  In  an  effort  to  keep 
awake,  she  looked  around  in  hopes  that  some  one 
would  notice  her,  but  no  one  did.  With  a  sigh, 
she  sank  down  on  the  cushioned  seat,  no  longer 
struggling  to  keep  her  eyes  open.  On  and  on 
she  slept. 

"  The  next  stop  will  be  ours,"  said  Mr.  Daven- 
port as  the  brakeman  called  Landrums.  "  We'd 
better  go  back  and  get  our  things  together. 
Shall  I  waken  Beth  ?  " 

"  ISTo,  we  need  not  disturb  her  now.  We'll 
send  the  porter  for  her  before  we  reach  Tremont." 

"  It's  stopped  raining  and  the  air  is  fine.  I'd 
like  to  stay  out  here  a  few  moments,"  cried 
Marian  at  the  door.  She  walked  to  the  topmost 
step  of  the  platform  which  was  not  vestibuled  on 
this  side. 

"  Marian,  do  be  careful,"  called  her  mother. 

Laughing  gayly,  Marian  looked  around. 
"  There  isn't  a  particle  of  danger." 

Not  reassured,  Mrs.  Davenport  stepped  to- 
ward Marian,  but  because  of  the  intense  darkness 
turned  to  her  husband  for  help.  That  instant 
there  was  a  sudden,  awful  lurch,  as  if  the  train 
were  being  thrown  from  the  track. 

"  Mamma !  papa  I     Save  me !  "  Marian  shouted, 


i8  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

reaching  out  wildly  to  save  herself,  but  at  the 
same  instant  she  was  pitched  headforemost  out 
into  the  darkness.  At  the  same  instant  both 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Davenport  were  thrown  from  their 
feet  by  the  violence  of  the  shock  and  hurled  to 
the  ground  below. 

The  sound  of  hissing  steam,  a  splintering  of 
wood,  and  a  crying  out  that  was  doubly  terrify- 
ing in  the  darkness  brought  Mr.  Davenport  to 
his  senses,  but  in  such  a  confused  state  of  mind 
that  he  could  not  think.  He  knew  there  was 
something  he  should  remember,  something  aw- 
ful, but  his  brain  refused  to  work  for  the  mo- 

"  Mary,"  he  murmured  from  force  of  habit. 
He  always  turned  to  his  wife  in  time  of  trouble. 
The  name  recalled  the  accident  that  had  befallen 
his  loved  ones,  and  he  rose  to  a  sitting  position. 

"  Mary — Marian,"  he  called  loudly. 

"Here,  James,  here.  Where's  Marian?" 
The  words  came  from  the  ground  not  far  from 
his* side.  He  started  to  kneel,  and  though  every 
muscle  ached,  the  physical  pain  was  as  nothing  to 
the  fear  that  his  wife  and  children  might  be  in  a 
critical  condition. 

"  Are  you  hurt,  Mary  ?  " 

The  question  recalled  his  wife  to  the  full  mean- 
ing of  the  situation.  She  sprang  up  entirely  for- 
getful of  self. 

"  Marian — Beth,"    she  sobbed,  so    weak  her- 

The  Accident  19 

self  that  she  tottered  and  would  have  fallen  had 
not  her  husband  caught  her. 

"  You  are  hurt,"  he  cried. 

"  Don't  think  of  me,"  she  murmured.  "  Marian 
— Beth,  we  must  find  them,"  and  the  thought  of 
their  danger  strengthened  her.  "  Marian,  Mar-, 
ian,"  she  called,  and  began  rushing  around  in 
frantic  search  of  her  child. 

Mr.  Davenport  drew  out  his  match  case,  but 
the  wind  made  it  difficult  to  get  a  light.  With 
extreme  care,  he  finally  succeeded,  only  to  have 
the  light  go  out  without  revealing  the  where- 
abouts of  their  lost  daughter. 

"Marian,  Marian,"  called  Mrs.  Davenport, 
half  frenzied. 

"  She's  here,"  cried  Mr.  Davenport  suddenly. 
At  the  same  instant  by  aid  of  the  flickering 
match,  Mrs.  Davenport  saw  the  apparently  life- 
less figure  of  Marian  stretched  out  on  the  soft 
clay  not  far  from  the  track.  She  rushed  to 
Marian  and  raised  her  close  to  her  own  beating 
heart,  as  if  she  hoped  to  give  her  child  life  by 
the  intensity  of  her  love. 

"  Speak  to  me,  Marian.  Mother  is  here. 
Mother  will  save  you." 

"Let  her  have  air.  It  will  bring  her  to, 

With  a  shudder  Marian  revived.  "  What  has 
happened  ?  "  she  asked. 

No    answer    was    possible,   they    having  no 

20  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

more  idea  than  she  of  the  nature  of  the  accident. 
Assured  now  that  one  daughter  lived,  the  mother's 
heart  was  anxious  yet  fearful  to  know  the  fate  of 
her  baby.  "  Beth — we  must  find  her,  James," 
she  cried,  loosening  Marian's  hold  of  her  arm. 

"Mamma,  don't  leave  me.  I'm  so  afraid," 
sobbed  Marian  hysterically. 

"  You  stay  with  her,  Mary.  I'll  see  what  has 
happened,"  and  with  these  words  Mr.  Davenport 
started  toward  the  track. 

"  Marian,  can't  you  come,  too  ?    Just  think, 

Beth "    Tears     so   choked    Mrs.  Davenport 

that  she  could  not  finish. 

Marian  struggled  to  her  feet,  but  sank  back 
with  a  cry.     "  Oh,  my  ankle  !     It  hurts  terribly." 

A  man  carrying  a  lantern  loomed  up  suddenly 
through  the  darkness. 

"  What's  happened  ?  Please  tell  us  what's 
happened  !  "    cried  Mrs.  Davenport. 

The  man  swung  the  lantern  their  way.  "  Why, 
you're  the  mother  of  the  girl  with  the  dog ! 
That  dog  saved  my  life.  If  I  hadn't  just  opened 
the  door  to  let  him  out  at  Tremont,  I'd  have 
been  in  the  burning  cars  this  minute.  I  was 
thrown " 

"  Burning  cars  ? "  repeated  Mrs.  Davenport 
with  a  terrible  fear  clutching  at  her  throat. 
"  Hurry,  hurry,  we  must  save  Beth  ;  she  may 
be  in  the  burning  cars,"  and  grasping  the  man 
by  the  arm  she  started  away  with  him. 

The  Accident  21 

"  Mamma,  don't  leave  me,"  sobbed  Marian, 
but  her  cry  was  unheeded.  Then  she  hobbled 
forward  a  step  or  two,  but  sank  back  on  the 
ground,  her  ankle  paining  greatly.  The  beating 
of  her  heart  almost  suffocated  her  so  sore  afraid 
was  she  on  her  own  account.  But  when  she  be- 
held flames  burst  up  through  the  darkness,  her 
own  terror  was  overcome  in  dread  for  her  sister's 

"  Beth,  dear  little  sister  Beth,  only  live  and  I'll 
never  tease  you  again  as  long  as  I  live,"  she 

Feeling  utterly  helpless,  she  cried  as  if  her 
heart  would  break,  but  all  the  while  the  prayer 
in  her  heart  was,  "  God  save  Beth.  Guide  us  to 
my  dear,  dear  sister." 

Suddenly,  something  wet  and  cold  touched  her 
hand  which  caused  her  to  shriek  aloud.  In  the 
darkness  and  horror  of  the  hour,  she  imagined 
all  sorts  of  wild  possibilities. 

"  It  might  be  a  snake ;  it  might  be  a  wildcat 
or " 

A  whine  and  a  pawing  at  her  dress  made  her 
gasp  for  very  joy. 

"  Duke !  Dear  old  Duke  ! "  She  raised  up 
and  hufjo^ed  him.  ''  We  must  find  Beth,  Duke. 
She  may  be  in  that  burning  car  there."  Her 
voice  was  still  broken  with  sobs,  and  Duke 
whined  as  if  he  shared  her  fear. 

'N'ever,  as  long  as  she  lived,  did  Marian  forget 

22  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

the  awful  uncertainty  of  that  time.  For  a  moment 
she  was  ho^ieful.  By  the  light  of  the  flames  she 
saw  that  some  of  the  rear  coaches  were  still  on 
the  track  and  one  of  them  was  half  on  and  half 
off,  and  from  these  cars  the  fortunate  sleeping-car 
passengers  were  coming  forth,  bruised  and  well 
scared,  but  with  little  real  injury. 

Marian,  forgetful  of  sprained  ankle  and  bruises, 
limped  over  to  the  nearest  man.  Duke  watched 
her  actions  anxiously. 

"  Can  you  tell  me  where  to  find  the  day 
coach  ?  "  she  asked  hardly  able  to  speak  distinctly 
because  of  her  sobs. 

"  It's  tumbled  down  into  the  ditch  there.  The 
engine,  the  baggage  cars  and  the  day  coach  all 
went  over,  and  they're  burning  up  now." 

For  an  instant  Marian  feared  she  was  going  to 
faint.  Everything  went  round  and  round  with 
her,  and  she  experienced  such  a  terribly  sickening 
sensation  that  she  grasped  Duke  to  save  herself 
from  falling. 

The  man  had  a  family  of  his  own  to  see  to,  but 
his  heart  went  out  in  sympathy  to  this  young  girl 
whose  manner  bespoke  trouble. 

"Is  there  anything  I  can  do  for  you?"  he 
asked  kindly. 

"Words  were  impossible  to  Marian  at  that  in- 
stant, besides  which  she  felt  that  there  was  no  help 
for  Beth,  that  she  was  beyond  human  aid  ;  so 
Marian  only  looked  at  the  man  blankly  and  shook 


The  Accident  23 

her  head.  Whereupou  he  left  her  believing  that 
the  horror  of  the  wreck  accounted  for  her 

Marian  sank  down  on  her  knees  beside  Duke 
too  much  overcome  for  the  moment  for  further 

"You'll  never  see  Beth  again,  Duke,"  she 
sobbed.     "  She's  burning  to  death." 

The  dog  whined  and  caught  at  her  dress  as 
if  he  would  have  her  move  on  again.  Such 
action  aroused  a  little  hope  within  her. 

*'  Perhaps  there  is  some  way  to  save  her,"  she 
murmured  struggling  to  her  feet.  "  We'll  see, 
Duke.     Beth  must  not  burn.     We  inust  save  her." 

She  still  was  so  weak  that  if  Duke  had  not 
walked  patiently  beside  her,  letting  her  cling  to 
him,  she  would  have  fallen  again  before  reaching 
the  far  side  of  the  track,  overlooking  the  ditch 
where  the  wrecked  cars  lay  in  such  a  confused 
mass  that  Marian  felt  more  helpless  than  ever. 
To  find  Beth  in  that  awful,  burning  wreckage 
seemed  an  almost  hopeless  undertaking. 

Duke,  she  felt,  was  her  only  hope ;  but  so 
greatly  did  she  dread  that  he  might  not  under- 
stand what  she  wanted  that  had  any  other  help 
been  offered,  she  would  have  discarded  the  aid 
of  the  faithful  dog.  In  fact  she  looked  all 
around  for  other  help  before  appealing  to  him. 
Then  not  until  he,  impatient  of  delay,  caught  at 
her  dress  again  did  she  make  her  appeal  to  him. 

24  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Duke,"  she  sobbed  and  her  heart  beat  so  con- 
vulsively that  to  tell  him  what  she  wished  was 
very  hard.  "  Beth  's  somewhere  there — in  the  car 
— the  one  where  she  took  you  this  afternoon. 

Find  her,  or "     Possibly  her  breaking  down 

told  more  to  the  faithful  dog  than  words. 

He  whined,  looked  up  at  her  an  instant,  and 
then  bounded  down  the  ditch.  Marian  hobbled 
after  him  as  best  she  could.  She  stumbled 
several  times  but  managed  to  keep  her  feet. 
Duke  waited  only  to  assure  himself  that  Marian 
was  following.  He  gave  no  heed  to  the  people 
who  were  running  hither  and  thither  in  the 
darkness  with  small  wit  for  action.  The  terror 
of  wreck  and  fire  had  overmastered  them.  Duke, 
however,  seemed  to  know  exactly  what  was  re- 
quired of  him.  He  hurried  so  fast  toward  the 
dismantled  cars  that  Marian  had  great  difficulty 
in  keeping  up  with  him.  Only  once  did  he  wait 
for  a  word  from  her.  Just  before  they  reached 
the  wreck,  he  paused  for  her  to  overtake  him, 
then  he  looked  from  her  toward  the  flames  and 

"  Yes,  Duke,  Beth's  there.     Find  Beth,  Duke." 

Whereupon,  either  because  he  scented  the 
whereabouts  of  his  dear  mistress,  or  because  he 
had  been  in  the  car,  or,  as  Marian  believed, 
because  a  higher  power  guided  him  in  answer  to 
her  praj^er,  he  made  his  way  direct  to  the  dis- 
mantled day  coach,  and,  settling  down,  set  up  a 

The  Accident  25 

howl.  He  knew  that  they  now  needed  outside 
aid,  but  onlv  Marian  was  near  to  heed. 

"  Oh,  Duke,"  she  sobbed,  "  we  can't  get  in  there. 
Beth'll  burn.     Oh,  oh,  oh  !  " 

For  a  moment  fear  paralyzed  all  action  with 
her.  Duke  never  ceased  howling  an  instant  and 
then  it  came  to  her  that  if  she  called  it  might 
attract  attention. 

"  Some  one  come  and  save  my  sister  !  She's 
here  burning  up !  Come  !  come !  "  Her  cries  and 
Duke's  persistent  howling  brought  people  to  the 

"  My  sister — save  her  ! "  was  all  Marian  could 

"  Where  is  she  ?  "  demanded  a  man. 

"  Eight  in  there,  I  think,"  and  she  pointed  to 
the  burning  car. 

"  Here's  an  axe.  We'll  soon  have  her  out  if 
she's  there,"  and  they  went  to  work  to  save 
human  life  if  possible. 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  Davenport,  unsuccessful  in  their 
search,  heard  Duke  howl  and  Marian  call  and 
rushed  to  find  out  the  meaning  of  the  summons. 

"  Oh,  mamma,  Beth  must  be  in  there.  Just 
see  the  way  Duke  acts."  Marian  pointed  ex- 
citedly toward  the  man  with  the  axe. 

Close  beside  him  stood  Duke,  very  careful  not 
to  get  in  the  way.  Now  that  every  effort  was 
being  made  toward  the  deliverance  of  his  beloved 
mistress,  his  howling  ceased,  but  he  waited  with 

26  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

muscles  tense,  sniffing  the  air  as  if  hounding 

Mr.  Davenport  immediately  went  to  help  in 
the  work  of  rescue.  Marian  clung  to  her  mother 
and  would  not  loosen  her  hold. 

"  I  must  go  to  Beth ;  I  must  go,"  Mrs.  Daven- 
port cried. 

"  There's  nothing  we  can  do  to  help,  mamma. 
Let's  ask  God  to  save  Beth.  He'll  not  let  her 
burn,  I  know." 

The  girl's  faith  had  a  quieting  effect  on  the 
distracted  mother,  who,  notwithstanding  her 
frenzy  of  fear,  realized  that  at  the  present  mo- 
ment she  would  only  be  in  the  way,  and  so  she 
prayed  over  and  over  : 

"  God  save  Beth.     God  save  Beth." 

While  the  two  prayed,  their  eyes  never  turned 
from  the  burning  wreck.  Though  the  men 
worked  with  almost  superhuman  strength,  it 
seemed  to  Mrs.  Davenport  that  if  only  she  had  an 
axe  she  could  do  better  than  they,  notwithstand- 
ing her  physical  disadvantage. 

"  Oh,  why  do  they  not  hurry  ?  "  she  moaned. 
"  They  must  hurry." 

Nearer  and  nearer  every  instant  crept  the 
flames,  and  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  water-soaked 
condition  of  the  cars,  the  brave  rescuers  would 
have  had  little  chance  of  success,  for  even  as  it 
was,  the  flying  cinders  showered  down  all  around 
them,  sometimes  badly  scorching  them. 

The  Accident 


"  I  can't  stand  the  heat,"  cried  the  man  with 
the  axe. 

"  Give  it  to  me,''  demanded  Mr.  Davenport,  but 
one  of  the  railroad  employees  seized  the  axe,  and 
went  to  work  with  such  herculean  strength  that 
Beth's  father  was  content  seeing  how  strong  the 
new  man  was. 

But  the  flames  too  were  getting  fiercer.  They 
hissed  out  at  the  wet  wood,  and  with  their  deadly, 
fiery  touch  licked  up  the  water,  after  which  all 
within  reach  was  easy  prey  before  their  deadly 

A  sudden  shout  caused  Mrs.  Davenport's  heart 
almost  to  stop  beating. 

"  Thank  God ;  thank  God,"  she  murmured,  but 
the  next  instant  she  was  less  hopeful. 

Even  though  the  car  could  now  be  entered, 
flames  so  encircled  the  opening  that  fear  seized 
upon  all  present,  holding  them  back  from  enter- 
ing the  car. 

"  We  must  save  Beth,"  cried  the  distracted 
mother,  loosening  Marian's  hold  to  rush  toward 
the  flames. 

But  faithful  Duke  was  ahead  of  her.  Into  the 
burning  coach  he  bounded  while  at  his  side  went 
Mr.  Davenport.     Immediately  others  followed. 

Mrs.  Davenport,  herself,  would  have  rushed  on 
into  the  burning  car  had  she  not  been  stopped. 

"  Oh,  let  me  go,"  she  implored  feeling  that  she 
could  not  endure  longer  the  agony  of  inaction. 

28  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  I  must  go.  Oh,  will  they  ever  bring  Beth 
out  ?  " 

The  moments  she  was  kept  in  suspense  seemed 
an  eternity  to  her. 

Then  through  the  smoke  she  beheld  Mr.  Daven- 
port with  faithful  Duke  close  at  his  heels  emerge 
from  the  opening.  PiX  first  she  was  so  blinded 
by  tears  that  she  could  not  see  if  their  quest  had 
been  rewarded  ;  but  when  she  groped  her  way 
to  them,^  there  in  her  husband's  arms  was  her 
child.  So  overjoyed  was  she  at  this  vision  that 
her  little  remaining  strength  almost  gave  way. 
Then  an  overwhelMing  fear  clutched  at  her 

"  She  lives,  tell  me  that  she  lives,"  she  sobbed. 

Duke  turned  to  Marian  and  whined.  If  he 
could  have  spoken,  he  would  have  said : 

"  I  knew  what  you  wanted,  didn't  I  ?  We 
found  her  very  near  where  I  led  you.  I  was  sure 
she  was  there." 

Marian  broke  down  completely.  She  knelt 
beside  him,  and  throwing  her  arms  about  him 
sobbed  as  if  her  heart  would  break. 

"  Dear,  dear  Duke,  if  Beth "  she  could  not 


Duke  licked  her  hand  as  much  as  to  say, 
"  Don't  grieve.  We've  saved  her,"  and  Marian 
was  comforted  by  his  silent  sympathy. 


<  .ft 


The  Home-Coming 

Maggie,  the  Davenports'  trusted  servant,  had 
their  new  home  on  the  hill  lighted  from  top  to 
bottom.  Although  she  had  already  done  every- 
thing possible  to  make  the  house  appear  most  at- 
tractive, every  now  and  then  she  poked  the. fires 
afresh  and  rearranged  the  flowers  in  the  different 

"  They  sholy  ought  to  be  hyere,"  she  muttered. 
"  It  jes'  do  seem  as  how  I  can't  wait  to  see  little 
missy's  face.  She'll  be  dat  pleased  dat  she'll  hug 
me  mos'  to  death.     She " 

Footsteps  sounded  on  the  porch,  but  they  were 

Maggie's  face  beamed.  "  Dat's  Missy  Beth, 
sho'.  She's  tryin'  k>  sneak  in  so's  to  fool  her  ole 
mammy.  She's  made  de  odders  wait  while  she 
tries  to  fool  me.  Dat  chile  am  up  to  all  manner 
ob  tricks."  She  chuckled  to  herself  all  the 
while  she  was  hurrying  to  swing  open  the  front 
door,  *'  I'll  pretend  not  to  know  her.  I'll  say, 
'  See  hyere,  yo'  little  stranger,  yo' ;  what  yo' 
doin'  up  hyere  at  dis  gran'  house  ? '  I'll  teach 
her  to  play  tricks  on  her  ole  mammy  dat  jes' 
dotes  on  her." 


32  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

As  Maggie  reached  the  door  a  timid  knocking 
sounded  upon  the  outside.  She  swung  the  door 
impressively  open,  and  looking  up  instead  of 
down  began : 

"  See    hyere,    yo'    little    stranger,  yo' ;   what 

"  I  'lowed  as  how  yer  hain't  heard.  I  cum  to 
tell  yer,"  piped  out  a  strange  voice  trembling 
both  from  excitement  and  bashfulness. 

So  dumbfounded  was  Maggie  that  she  stared 
down  at  the  stranger  without  saying  a  word. 

At  first  sight  the  superstitious  colored  woman 
felt  as  if  wind  and  storm  had  brought  an  elf  to 
her  door.  A  little  thing  with  shoulders  slightly 
stooped,  as  if  too  heavy  burdens  had  been  placed 
thereon,  stood  looking  up  appealingly  into  the 
black  face  above,  generally  most  kind  but  now 
stern  from  doubt  and  disappointment. 

"  I  done  feel  creepy  when  I  looked  on  dat 
chile  firs',"  Maggie  confessed  afterward.  "An' 
it  done  make  me  cross  to  de  pooh  little  thing.  I 
had  a  predominate  " — she  meant  premonition — 
"dat  somethin'  ter'ble  was  comin',  an'  I  snapped 
out  at  her,  '  What  yo'  want  ?  Who  am  yo' 
anyhow  ? '  so  dat  she  jes'  jumped  scared-like  an' 
bust  into  tears.  Den  I  knowed  she  wuz  human 
an'  I  drew  her  inside  to  close  out  de  storm." 

Once  inside  Maggie  eyed  the  child  critically. 
Judged  by  size,  the  stranger  might  have  been 
twelve,  but  the  careworn  face,  its  natural  pale- 

The  Home-Coming  33 

ness  intensified  now  bv  the  occurrences  of  the 
night,  made  her  seem  more  like  a  girl  of  eighteen. 
Tears  were  still  rolling  down  from  her  great  blue 
eyes  although  she  was  trying  hard  to  suppress 
them,  and  she  stood  nervously  twisting  her  faded 
calico  dress  which  clung  limply  wet  to  her  shiver- 
ing little  figure. 

"  Who  am  yo',  chile  ? "  demanded  Maggie 
again  but  a  little  more  kindly. 

"I'm  Carol." 

"  Hump,"  thought  Maggie  to  herself,  "  what 
does  a  mountain  chile  want  with  a  gran',  high- 
falutin'  name  like  dat,  but  I  reckon  none  ob  de 
pooh  white  trash  has  much  sense  noways  !  " 

"  Have  yer  hearn  of  the  wreck  ?  "  asked  Carol. 

Maggie  actually  turned  pale,  and  grasped  Carol 
roughly  by  the  arm  so  that  the  child  winced. 

"  Wreck  ?     What  yo'  mean,  chile  ?     Speak." 

"  The  train  from  Spartanburg " 

That  was  all  Maggie  heard.  She  threw  her 
arms  wildly  above  her  head  and  broke  forth  into 
wild  lamentation. 

"  Oh,  my  honey  lambs,  dey  am  killed  shure ! 
God  let  dis  ole  black  heart  break  too,  fur  if  dey 
am  dead  dere  am  nothin'  to  lib  fur.  Oh,  God, 
save  us,  save  us." 

"  Yer  folks  may  not  be  hurt,"  cried  Carol 
sympathetically.  "  All  I  know  is  that  they've 
sent  up  to  Henderson ville  fur  a  train  an'  doctors. 
I  wuz  down  huntin'  up  my  paw  when  I  hearn  of 

34  -A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

the  wreck.  We  uns  live  down  in  the  hollow  on 
yer  place,  an'  I  knowed  'bout  yer  folks  comin' 
to-night  so  I  runned  to  tell  yer  'bout  the  wreck." 

At  this  moment  the  man  who  had  been  sent 
down  to  drive  the  family  up  the  hill  returned 
and  confirmed  Carol's  story.  Maggie  lost  her 
head  completely.  She  sank  down  all  in  a  heap 
on  the  nearest  rocker,  and,  howling  and  moaning 
wildly,  swayed  back  and  forth  with  no  thought 
for  action.  Carol  waited  awhile  longing  to  com- 
fort the  poor  old  black  mammy,  but  finally,  see- 
ing no  way  in  which  she  could  help,  went  unob- 
served out  into  the  stormy  night. 

She  was  undecided  whether  to  return  home,  or 
to  go  down  to  the  station,  there  to  wait  around 
to  see  if  she  could  learn  anything  more.  So 
interested  was  she  in  the  family  coming  to  the 
hill  that  she  forgot  that  her  mother  had  sent 
her  out  to  hunt  up  her  father.  This  interest 
finally  landed  her  at  the  station  again. 

"  If  the  cars  had  gone  out  on  the  trestle  and 
then  over,  not  a  soul  would  have  escaped.  I'm 
told  the  wreck  occurred  just  the  other  side  of  the 
trestle,"  Carol  heard  a  man  say. 

The  trestle  was  only  a  mile  or  two  away,  Carol 
knew,  and  she  was  tempted  to  run  down  to  the 
scene  of  disaster,  but  at  that  instant  she  saw  the 
village  doctor  on  horseback  prepared  to  ride 
to  the  assistance  of  the  wounded.  Immediately 
Carol  ran  breathlesslv  after  him.     She  did  not 

The  Home-Coming  35 

feel  basil ful  with  him  because  he  had  been  most 
kind  to  her  own  folks  on  many  occasions. 

"Doctah,  doctah,"  she  called  out  in  distress 
for  fear  she  could  not  overtake  him. 

The  wind  was  blowing  his  way  so  that  he 
heard  her  call  and  recognized  the  voice,  but  at 
first  was  tempted  not  to  stop.  However  he  liked 
Carol  and  so  called  back  impatiently : 

"You  must  not  delay  me,  Carol,  unless  it's 
very  important." 

She  rushed  panting  up  beside  his  horse. 

"  Hit's  'bout  the  people  on  the  hill.  They're 
in  the  wreck,  an' " 

"I  know,"  he  interrupted  hastily.  "Mr. 
Davenport  sent  word  for  me  to  come  when  they 
sent  word  to  Spartanburg.     I  must  hurry." 

She  longed  to  ask  questions ;  to  know  what  to 
expect,  but  putting  her  own  curiosity  aside,  said : 

"  Is  thar  anythin'  could  be  done  up  at  their 
place  ?    If  they  uns  air  hurt " 

He  had  not  thought  of  any  preparations  at 
this  end,  but  in  an  instant  saw  the  wisdom  of  her 

"  Yes,  Carol,  you  are  right.  In  the  first  place 
we  need  a  wagon  with  a  good  soft  mattress 
at  the  station.  Do  you  think  you  can  see  to 
having  one  there  by  the  time  the  rescue  train 
returns  ?  It  is  very  important,  but  I  should  not 
stop  to " 

"  I'll  tell  um  up  at  the  house,  an'  we'll  have  hit 

36  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

sure,"  she  interrupted,  feeling  the  importance  of 
the  trust. 

"  That's  a  good  girl,  Carol,"  the  doctor  called 
as  he  galloped  away. 

From  the  moment  Carol  had  heard  that  the 
house  on  the  hill  was  to  be  occupied  for  the 
summer  she  had  been  interested ;  and  when  she 
found  that  two  girls  were  coming  she  was  more 
interested  than  ever.  There  had  been  little  time 
or  chance  for  pleasure  in  her  young  life,  but  she 
was  always  dreaming  dreams  of  what  might 
happen.  These  dreams  were  about  all  that  gave 
color  to  her  life,  and  the  coming  of  the  Daven- 
ports had  taken  hold  of  her  imagination  in  a 
particularly  vivid  way.  In  spite  of  the  vast 
difference  in  their  social  position,  she  had  im- 
agined herself  a  friend,  a  great  friend,  at  least  of 
one  of  the  girls.  This  make-believe  friendship 
was  as  beautiful  as  a  fairy  story  to  her,  but  very 
real  also.  So  when  she  heard  of  the  wreck,  she 
felt  very  badly,  and  now  was  delighted  because 
she  could  do  something  for  her  unknown  little 

She  flew  back  up  the  hill  with  a  much  lighter 
heart  than  when  she  came  down. 

She  knocked  at  the  door  a  second  time  with 
much  more  assurance. 

Again  Maggie  answered  her  call  hoping  for 

"  Yo'  hyere  'gin,"  said  Maggie  disappointedly. 

The  Home-Coming  37 

"  The  doctah  sent  me,"  announced  Carol  breath- 
lessly, and  her  face  was  so  much  brighter  that 
Maggie  herself  began  to  feel  more  cheerful. 

The  colored  mammy  was  delighted  to  have 
something  to  do  for  her  loved  ones,  and  after 
learning  the  girl's  mission  felt  more  kindly  dis- 
posed toward  Carol,  although  in  her  thought  she 
had  no  use  for  "  pooh  white  trash  "  as  she  termed 
those  of  Carol's  class.  Together  they  attended 
to  getting  the  wagon  and  fitting  it  out  as  the 
doctor  desired. 

Carol  hoped  that  she  might  be  asked  to  ride 
down  to  the  train,  but  Maggie  had  no  such  idea. 

''  I'm  goin'  down  to  meet  um.  Yo'  kin  run 
'long  now,"  she  said  to  Carol,  and  added  grudg- 
ingly, "I  has  to  thank  yo'  fer  what  yo'  has  done." 

*'  I  was  glad  to  do  anythin'  fer "  Carol  al- 
most said  "  her  "  but  added  "  um,"  remembering 
that  the  colored  woman  did  not  know  about  her 
imagined  friendship. 

"  She  will  know  in  time,"  she  thouo^ht  sadlv  as 
Maggie  departed  without  her,  "  and  then  she'll  be 
nicer  to  me." 

To  Maggie  the  hardest  part  of  this  trying 
night  was  waiting  for  the  rescue  train.  While 
she  longed  to  have  it  come,  she  dreaded  that  it 
might  only  mean  new  sorrow  to  her.  And  finally 
when  she  beheld  the  gleam  of  the  oncoming 
engine,  it  struck  new  terror  to  her  soul. 

"  It  do  look  like  an  eye  ob  death,"  she  thought, 

38  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

and  as  the  train  came  to  a  standstill,  and  she 
went  aboard,  her  look  was  very  mournful.  But 
the  black,  tearful  face  appeared  almost  angelic  to 
Mrs.  Davenport  and  Marian. 

"  O  Maggie,"  sobbed  Marian. 

"  Oh,  my  precious  honey  lambs.  Thank  de 
good  Lawd,"  and  Maggie,  crying  and  laughing  in 
the  same  breath,  gathered  both  Mrs.  Davenport 
and  Marian  to  her  motherly  bosom.  Then  she 
noted  Beth,  so  very  white  and  still  that  for  a 
moment  she  thought  the  child  was  dead.  J^ever 
had  she  been  so  overcome.  She  gasped  for  breath 
and  the  next  instant  a  piercing  cry  escaped  her. 

"  Hush,  Maggie,  hush,"  cautioned  Mrs.  Daven- 
port.    "  The  doctor  says  she'll  be  all  right  in  time. 

Unless "  she  could  not  add  as  he  had,  *'  unless 

there's  some  internal  injury."  She  would  not 
think  anything  so  terrible  possible. 

Maggie  knelt  beside  her  little  mistress  and 
tears  rained  down  her  cheeks. 

"  My  own  honey  lamb,"  she  moaned.  "  Yo' 
mustn't  die.  I  needs  yo',  honey."  Beth's  heavy 
lids  flickered  and  then  slowly  opened.  No  con- 
scious word  had  passed  her  lips  since  the  accident, 
although  she  had  muttered  sometimes  incoher- 

"Maggie,  my  dear  good  Maggie,"  she  mur- 
mured and  added  as  if  her  mind  was  not  dwelling 
on  the  accident,  "  "We've  brought  Duke  with  us, 
Maggie.     We'll  have  lots  of  fun." 

The  Home-Coming  39 

"  Of  co'se,  honey  lamb,"  said  the  old  mammy. 

Tenderly  Maggie  lifted  Beth  and  helped  carry 
her  from  the  train  to  the  mattress  provided  in 
the  waiting  wagon. 

The  doctor  accompanied  the  family  up  the  hill 
to  their  new  home.  The  home-coming  was  very 
different  from  what  had  been  planned  ;  but  the 
almost  miraculous  escape  from  death,  which  had 
been  very  near  them  all  so  short  a  while  back, 
and  faithful  Maggie's  loving  care  lightened  the 

Beth  was  taken  up-stairs  to  the  front  wing  of 
the  house  into  a  large  room  opening  on  wide 

"  This   is   so  nice,"   she  murmured,  only  half 
conscious  as  they  placed  her  on  the  bed.     "  I'm , 
glad  we  have  Maggie." 

Tears,  welling  up  again,  trickled  down  the 
black  cheeks.  "  Law,  honey,  not  anyways  near 
so  glad  as  I  dat  I  has  my  honey  gal." 

Then  the  faithful  soul,  fearful  that  she  might 
break  down  completely,  hurried  over  to  the  fire- 
place and  poked  the  logs  that  she  had  lighted  to 
give  such  cheer  as  possible.  The  flames  shot  up 
casting  wierd  lights  over  the  floor  and  walls. 

"  Dey  jes'  can't  send  me  out  ob  dis  room  dis 
night,"  she  muttered  to  herself.  "  Miss  Mary 
needs  rest,  an'  I'm  sholy  de  one  to  watch.  I'll 
jes'  tell  de  doctah  how  it  am." 

She  waited  with  beating  heart  until  he  was 

40  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

through  with  Beth  for  the  night,  and  then  whis- 
pered to  him,  *'  Tell  Miss  Mary,  doctah,  dat  ole 
Maggie's  de  one  to  stay  hyere  dis  night.  Yo's 
seen,  hasn't  yo',  dat  I'se  to  be  trusted  ?  " 

He  nodded  his  head  in  quick  approval,  having 
noted  how  she  anticipated  his  needs. 

"  Mrs.  Davenport,  your  old  mammy  wishes  to 
watch  your  child  to-night,  and  I  approve,"  he 
said,  and  when  he  saw  that  she  Avas  about  to 
demur  added,  "  It  is  positively  necessary  for  you 
to  husband  your  strength.  Beth  will  need  care 
for  the  next  month  or  so." 

Mrs.  Davenport's  heart  sank.  "  A  month  or 
two  for  my  active  Beth,"  she  thought.  "  It  will 
be  terrible  for  her,  but  then  it  might  have  been 
so  much  worse.  I  suppose  the  doctor's  right 
about  Maggie's  watching  to-night.  I  know  she'll 
take  as  good  care  of  Beth  as  I  would  myself." 

"  All  right,  Maggie,"  she  said  aloud,  "you  may 
watch  Beth." 

Maggie's  face  expressed  her  pleasure.  She 
quietly  moved  over  to  the  bed  and  seated  herself. 

"  De  honey  lamb  is  sleepin',"  she  whispered  to 
Mrs.  Davenport.  "  She'll  sholy  be  bettah  when 
she  wakes." 

"  And  you'll  call  me,  Maggie,  if  she  wants 

"  Of  co'se,  an'  yo'  nebbeh  knowed  me  to  break 
my  word,  has  yo'  ?  " 

"  No,  never,  Maggie.     God  bless  and  keep  you, 

The  Home-Coming  41 

my  precious,"  she  murmured  as  she  stooped  over 
Beth.     Then  she  turned  to  go. 

''  Maggie,"  she  whispered  at  the  door,  "  Duke's 
here.  Perhaps  you'd  better  take  him  down  to  the 
kitchen  and  lock  him  up  for  the  night.  He 
might  disturb  Beth." 

After  her  departure,  Maggie  hesitated.  "  It 
do  seem  a  perfect  shame  aftah  he's  been  an'  saved 
her  life.  He  won't  'sturb  her,  I  knows.  Didn't 
he  watch  outside  her  door  down  in  Floridah 
when  she  had  de  fevah,  an'  nebbeh  onct  'sturbed 
her  ?  No  'deed,  for  she  liked  him  dar.  I  reckon 
Miss  Mary  done  disrecoUected  dat  for  if  she 
hadn't,  she'd  have  let  him  stay,  too."  Where- 
upon she  reseated  herself. 

An  hour  passed  in  perfect  silence.  Then  a 
quiet  pawing  at  the  door  announced  that  Duke 
had  wakened.  Maggie  rose  to  quiet  him. 
Beth's  eyes  opened.  They  appeared  more  natu- 
ral looking  than  at  any  time  since  the  accident. 

"  What  is  it,  Maggie  ?  " 

Maggie's  heart  fluttered.  She  felt  guilty.  "  I 
was  done  tole  to  lock  Duke  in  de  kitchen  for  de 
night,  but  I  jes'  hadn't  de  heart  to  do  it.  I'll  go 
an'  lock  him  up  dis  minute,  howsomever." 

"  No,  no,  Maggie.  I  want  him  in  here.  Bring 
him  in." 

Maggie  gladly  did  as  bidden. 

"  Now,  Duke,  yo'  mustn't  bodder  her,"  she 
cautioned  at  the  threshold. 

42  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

He  eyed  her  reproachfully,  gave  one  loving 
look  toward  the  bed,  then  stalked  majestically 
over  to  the  fireplace,  and  settled  down  there  for 
the  night. 

"  He's  a  dear  fellow,  Maggie,"  Beth  murmured, 
"  a  very  dear  dog.     I  love  him." 

"  She  done  love  ev'body  an'  ev'thin',"  thought 
Maggie  as  her  charge  sank  back  to  sleep.  "  She's 
de  lovin'est  chile  I  ebbeh  knowed.  If  she'd  been 
killed  dis  ole  heart  ob  mine  done  cracked  in  a 
thousan'  pieces.     Dat's  what." 

At  that  very  moment  Duke  looked  around  at 
her,  and  Maggie  noted  an  unusually  soft  glow  in 
his  eyes. 

"  He's  thinkin'  de  same  thing,  I  reckon.  I  jes' 
specs  he  loves  her  as  much  as  I  do,  if  dat's  possi- 

The  Surprise 

Every  hillside  and  valley  around  Tremont  was 
abloom.  The  May  air  had  a  June  balminess 
which,  as  it  floated  through  the  open  windows  to 
Beth,  made  her  more  restless  than  ever. 

"  Tell  me  about  the  mountains  and  the 
flowers,"  she  demanded  wearily  of  Marian  who 
was  seated  in  the  room  with  her.  "  It's  dread- 
ful to  be  in  here  when  it's  so  beautiful  outside," 
and  she  sank  down  among  the  pillows  piled  up 
back  of  her  and  sighed.  Then  she  shook  her 
head  so  vigorously  that  her  curls  of  brown  flew 
all  about  her  flushed  face  in  wildest  confusion. 
"  I  suppose  I  ought  to  be  thankful  every  minute 
that  I  wasn't  killed,  or  that  I  didn't  lose  my  legs 
or  something  else  even  more  dreadful.  Am  I  a 
terribly  ungrateful  girl,  Marian  ?  " 

"  ]^o,  dear ;  I  think  you  bear  being  shut  up 
beautifully.     We  all  think  so." 

Beth's  heart  lightened  although  she  felt  unde- 
serving of  such  unstinted  praise.  "  Let  me  see. 
How  long  is  it  since  I  was  hurt  ?  Over  a  month, 
isn't  it  ?  " 

"  Yes,  it  was  the  last  of  March  when  we 

4^  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  And  I'm  to  be  taken  down-stairs  to-morrow, 
but  I'm  afraid  it  will  be  some  time  before  I'm 
out  again.  This  last  waiting  is  the  hardest.  I 
wish  Harvey  and  Julia  were  here.  It  wouldn't 
be  so  bad  then." 

Marian  smiled.  "  How  many  times  have  you 
wished  for  them  since  you  were  hurt  ?  " 

Beth  looked  over  at  her  whimsicallv.  "  I 
couldn't  possibly  count.  It's  been  many  more 
times  than  I've  told." 

In  thinking  of  her  two  friends,  Beth  forgot 
the  outside  world,  and  was  so  quiet  that  Marian 
thought  she  had  fallen  asleep.  So  thought  some 
one  else  listening  outside.  The  door  opened  very 

"  Is  she  asleep,  Marian  ?  "  came  in  a  whisper 
from  the  half  open  door. 

Marian  rushed  over  to  the  door,  for  a  glance 
at  the  bed  had  shown  her  that  Beth  was  still 

"  Hush,  hush,"  Beth  heard  her  sister  caution, 
and  then  Marian  slammed  the  door  behind  her. 

Beth  was  indignant  and  also  wildly  curious. 
"  Marian,  come  back,"  she  called. 

"  Yes,  Beth,  I'm  coming  in  a  minute,"  but  she 
waited  so  long  that  Beth  again  called  her. 

"  Marian,  do  come.  I  think  it's  awfully  mean 
of  you  to  leave  me  here  alone  !  " 

In  answer  Marian  opened  the  door,  but  only 
half  way. 

The  Surprise  47 

^*  Who's  with  you,  Marian  ?  " 

Marian  made  no  answer,  but  when  she  reen- 

V^tered  the  room  her  face  was  unusually  flushed, 

and  her  eyes  sparkled.     A  smile  hovering  around 

her  mouth  made  Beth  still  more  curious,  but  she 

was  given  no  chance  to  repeat  her  question. 

"  Beth,  you  ought  to  be  asleep  this  minute." 

"  She  doesn't  want  to  answer.  There  is  some- 
thing going  on,"  thought  Beth.  Then  she  said 
aloud,  "  Marian,  who " 

"  Mamma'll  blame  me  for  keeping  you  awake," 
Marian  rattled  on  choosing  a  seat  with  her  back 
toward  Beth.  "  If  you  keep  on  getting  excited 
over  nothing  like  you  do,  you'll  not  be  able  to  go 
down-stairs  to-morrow,  and " 

Beth  raised  herself  on  her  elbow.  Her  eyes 
sparkled  too.  She  did  not  intend  to  be  fooled 
another  minute. 

"  Marian,  it  sounded  like  Julia  talking." 

"  Why,  Beth,  the  very  idea,"  Marian  only  half 
turned  her  head.  "  Once  to-day  you  thought  you 
heard  Harvey  talking,  and  now  you  imagine  you 
hear  Julia.  You've  them  so  on  your  mind  that 
you  even  take  mamma  for  them." 

"  Was  mamma  really  and  truly  out  there  just 
now  ?  " 


"Oh,"  sighed  Beth  disappointedly.  "Well," 
settling  herself  once  more  on  the  pillows,  "  tell 
me  about  the  mountains,  and  I'll  go  to  sleep." 

48  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

^'  I  didn't  have  to  tell  there  was  some  one  else 
out  there  too,"  thought  Marian.  She  now  faced 
Beth.  "  You've  already  heard  all  about  papa's 
and  my  trip  up  Tremont  Mountain." 

"  Named  after  a  revolutionary  hero,"  supple- 
mented Beth  sleepily. 

"  Oh,  Beth,  you  should  have  been  with  us  yester- 
day afternoon,"  Marian's  eyes  sparkled.  "  We 
went  only  a  short  way,  but  it  w^as  the  nicest  ride 
I  ever  had.  Did  I  tell  you  how  the  Rocky  Spur 
road  curves  around  and  around  ?  At  first  you  see 
the  mountains  only  on  the  right,  but  below  is  the 
railroad  winding  up  the  valley.  We  took  short 
cuts  which  were  so  steep  that  I  held  my  breath 
for  fear  the  horses  would  tumble  backward.  The 
valley  beyond  Piney  was  suddenly  right  before 
us,  but  I  didn't  look  down  much,  for  towering 
beyond  us  was  Hogback." 

Beth's  eyes  that  were  beginning  to  droop 
opened  wide.  "  I  can't  help  smiling  whenever  I 
hear  that  name.  Does  the  mountain  really  look 
like  a  hog's  back  ?  " 

"  If  you've  a  good  imagination.  But,  Beth, 
you're  not  going  to  sleep,  as  you  promised." 

"  I'm  more  anxious  to  see  Melrose  Falls  than 
any  place  else.  You  know  papa  promised  that 
we  may  camp  there  when  I'm  well." 

So  happy  was  Beth  thinking  of  camp  life  that 
she  soon  fell  asleep.  Then  she  dreamed  a  beauti- 
ful dream.     Her  room  was  transformed  into  a 

The  Surprise  49 

bower  of  green — almost  like  the  woods  for  which 
she  so  pined.  The  rustling  of  the  boughs,  the 
refreshing  smell  of  evergreen  and  wild  flowers 
enravished  her  senses.  Kever  had  she  experi- 
enced such  a  real  dream. 

"It's  strange,''  she  thought  half  awake,  but 
with  her  eyes  still  closed,  "  I'm  awake  now,  and  I 
still  smell  evergreens  and  flowers." 

"  She's  stirring.  We  must  hide  in  the  closet 
and  march  out  as  planned."  It  was  Marian's 
whispering  that  Beth  heard.  People  on  tiptoe 
seemed  to  be  flying  from  different  corners  of  the 
room,  and  some  one  giggled. 

"Just  like  Julia.  I'm  not  awake,"  decided 
Beth,  and  wishing  for  her  dream  to  go  on  as  long 
as  possible  she  would  not  try  to  open  her  eyes. 
She  almost  feared  to  stir  again  so  intent  was  she 
on  having  the  dream  continue. 

For  a  moment  all  was  still.  Then  once  more 
there  was  a  tiptoeing. 

"  She's  falling  asleep  again.  What  shall  we 
do  ?     Shall  we  waken  her  ?  " 

The  voice  was  surely  Harvey's,  and  Beth 
wished  she  could  waken  and  really  see  him. 

"Let's  pretend  that  she's  a  fairy  queen.  It 
would  please  her."  The  voice  belonged  to  Julia 
now,  and  the  muffled  tread  of  feet  came  nearer. 

"  Are  you  talking  about  me  ?  I  do  think  it 
would  be  great  fun  to  be  a  fairy  queen."  Beth 
said  the  words  aloud  without  really  intending  to 

50  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

do  so,  but  everything  was  so  very  real  that  just 
thinking  of  things  did  not  suit  the  occasion. 

"  We  all  come  to  serve  Beth,  our  fairy  queen," 
and  with  the  chorus  of  voices  Duke  barked,  which 
was  so  unmistakably  lifelike  that  Beth  opened 
her  eves.     Then  she  rubbed  them  vio:orouslv. 

"  Oh,  Julia !  Oh,  Harvey  !  "  she  gasped.  "  Am 
I  really  and  truly  awake  ?  Are  you  really  you  ? 
Oh,  if  only  it's  true !  Come  here  and  let  me  feel 
you  to  make  sure.'' 

A  girl  and  a  boy,  about  thirteen  and  fourteen 
years  of  age,  were  almost  within  reach.  Harvey, 
the  boy,  was  looking  right  at  Beth  with  his 
honest,  kindly  eyes  aglow  with  affection.  The 
girl,  Julia,  was  acting  just  like  her  own  dear  self. 
Hardly  still  an  instant,  she  danced  around  and 
around  the  bed,  and  clapped  her  hands,  crying : 

"  It's  a  perfect  surprise !  You  like  being  a 
fairy  queen,  don't  you,  Beth  ?  " 

Beth  held  her  arms  wide  open.  "  Come  over 
here,  dear,  and  I'll  show  you  how  much  I  like 

Julia  rushed  over  and  kissed  her,  not  once,  but 
a  dozen  times.  And  Harvey  squeezed  her  hand  so 
hard  that  it  actually  ached,  but  she  did  not  mind 
in  the  least. 

Beyond  Harvey  and  Julia,  Beth  saw  her 
mother  and  father  and  sister  Marian,  with  Duke 
by  her  side. 

She  smiled  at  them  all  lovingly,  then  her  eyes 

"  How  Well   You   Look   in   Your   Cadet  Uniform 

The  Surprise  51 

took  in  the  transformation  that  had  been  wrought 
in  her  room.  In  one  short  hour  it  had  been 
converted  into  a  perfect  bower,  just  like  her 
dream.  Great  garlands  of  evergreens  were  fes- 
tooned all  over  the  wall ;  luxuriant  boughs  of 
hardy  rhododendrons,  and  daintier  ones  of  moun- 
tain laurel  had  been  placed  wherever  there  was 
room  ;  in  vases  were  wild  honeysuckle  and  other 
sweet-scented  flowers.  There  were  no  lamps 
lighted,  but  the  rosy  glow  from  the  declining  sun 
made  everything  more  fairy  like. 

"  Oh,  oh  !  "  sighed  Beth  ecstatically.  "  I  can 
hardly  believe  even  yet  that  I'm  awake." 

"  Of  course  you're  awake,"  cried  Marian,  her 
tone  almost  as  joyful  as  Beth's.  "  Haven't  you 
made  me  almost  lie  to  you  two  or  three  times  to- 
day ?  You  did  hear  Harvey,  and  Julia  was  out- 
side with  mamma,  but  I  wouldn't  tell  you  al- 
though I  was  just  dying  to.  We'd  worked  so 
hard  to  surprise  you,  it  wouldn't  have  been  fair 
to  spoil  the  others'  fun,  especially  when  Harvey 
and  Julia  had  come  so  far  to  visit  us." 

Mention  of  her  two  friends  drew  Beth's  eyes  to 
them  once  more.  ''  Harvey  Baker,  how  you've 
grown,"  she  exclaimed,  her  eyes  glistening.  She 
was  hysterically  happy.  "  You've  grown  an  inch 
or  two  in  the  last  month  and  how  well  you  look 
in  your  cadet  uniform." 

He  drew  himself  up  to  his  full  height. 
"What  do  you  expect,  young  lady,  that  we'll 

52  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

stand  still?  You're  not  in  your  teens  like  the 
rest  of  us.  You  know  I  attend  a  Military 
Academy  now." 

She  made  a  face  at  him.  "  Well,  I  don't 
care,  I'm  growing,  too.  You'll  be  surprised 
when  you  see  me  stand  up.  I'm  very  much 
taller  than  Julia,  even  if  she  is  a  year  older 
than  I." 

"  Never  mind,"  retorted  Julia,  "  when  you're 
ready  to  climb  trees  again,  you'll  envy  me. 
Being  small  helps  me  to  get  around  faster." 

"  No  one  will  deny  that,"  agreed  Marian. 
"  You  should  have  seen  her  flying  around,  Beth, 
getting  this  room  ready.  She  wasn't  still  an  in- 

"  Neither  were  the  rest  of  you,"  declared 
loyal  Julia. 

"  Whose  idea  was  it  ?  "  questioned  Beth. 

"  Your  mother's,"  answered  Mr.  Davenport, 
coming  forward. 

"  Oh,  mamma,"  sighed  Beth  rapturously,  cast- 
ing a  very  loving  look  her  mother's  way. 

"  You  mustn't  give  me  all  the  credit,  Beth. 
Just  wait  until  you  see  the  presents  they  all  have 
for  you." 

**  Presents  ?  Presents  for  me  ?  I  don't  know 
why  so  many  grand  things  are  happening.  It's 
not  my  birthda3\" 

"  We're  celebrating  because  we're  so  thankful 
that  you  were  spared  to  us  and  because  you'll 

The  Surprise  53 

soon  be  up  now.  That's  even  better  than  a 

"  'Cose  it  am,  Missy  Beth,"  cried  a  voice  in  the 

Beth  turned  suddenly,  doubtful  of  her  hearing. 

"  Gustus— you,  too  ?      It's  really  too  good  to 

be  true." 

The  darky  lad  in  the  doorway  swelled  visibly 
with  pride.  "  No,  it  ain't.  Missy  Beth.  Miss 
Mary  she  sent  foh  me  'cose  my  little  mistress 
done  be  spared  from  de  jaws  ob  death.  She 
'lowed  as  how  you'd  be  pleased." 

"  I'm  delighted,  Gustus." 

His  eyes  sparkled.  "  I  done  fetched  somethin' 
all  de  way  from  Florida  foh  yo'.  I'll  run  an* 
fetch  it  here." 

*'  I  must  bring  in  my  present,  too,"  cried 
Julia,  rushing  after  him. 

"  Here's  your  doll.  I  made  the  new  clothes 
for  it,"  said  Marian  handing  Beth's  doll  to  her. 
But  her  ladyship  appeared  so  fine  that  for  a 
moment  Beth  hardly  recognized  her  old  play- 
mate. She  examined  the  finery  reverently,  too 
pleased  to  speak.     Then  she  cried  out : 

"  Oh, — a  broadcloth  coat  with  real  fur  !  A 
hat  with  feathers  !  A  pink  silk  dress,  and  pink 
stockings  and  shoes  to  match  !  Oh,  and  such 
fine  underclothing  I  never  saw  !  Marian,  you're 
the  best  sister  in  all  the  world." 

"  See  what  Harvey  has  in  his  pocket  for  you," 

54  -^  ilfarc/  of  the  Mountains 

cried  Marian,  who  was  as  greatly  excited  as 
Beth.  She  was  wild  for  the  time  to  come  to 
speak  of  her  father's  present,  but  that  was  to  be 
reserved  for  the  last. 

Beth's  eyes  were  now  riveted  on  Harvey's 
coat  pocket.  "  What's  in  there,  Harvey  ?  It's 

He  took  from  the  pocket  in  question  a  tiny 
gray  squirrel,  and  placed  it  in  his  little  friend's 

Beth  ran  her  hand  lovingly  over  the  soft  fur 
of  her  new  pet.  "  Oh,  Harvey,  I've  always 
wanted  a  squirrel.     How  did  you  know  ?  " 

"  I  remembered  your  once  saying  you  wanted 

The  squirrel  accepted  Beth  as  his  mistress 
quite  readily,  and  snuggled  down  in  the  bed- 
clothes beside  her. 

Beth's  attention  was  attracted  from  the  squir- 
rel by  the  entrance  of  Julia  with  a  covered  cage 
in  her  hand.  Quickly  the  cover  was  removed, 
and  a  burst  of  sweet  song  followed. 

"  A  mocking-bird,  how  lovely ! "  cried  Beth 
rapturously.  "  It  makes  me  feel  as  if  I  were 
back  in  Florida." 

"  An'  dis  kitten  ob  yo's  dat  I  fetched  all  de  way 
from  Florida'll  make  it  seem  moah  homelike," 
cried  Gust  us,  who  had  followed  behind  Julia. 

"  How  nice  of  you,  Gustus."  She  really  was 
pleased  with  the  kitten,  but  she  had  so  much  to 

TTie  Surprise  SS 

think  about  that  she  had  no  time  to  play  with 
it  now.  In  the  new  excitement,  she  forgot  for  a 
moment  about  the  squirrel.  But  when  she 
started  to  put  the  kitten  under  the  covers,  not 
knowing  how  else  to  dispose  of  it,  the  squirrel 
awakened,  so  greatly  frightened  that  it  sprang 
out  and  ran  to  the  foot  of  the  bed  where  it 
perched  on  the  foot-board,  chattering  and  show- 
ing its  teeth.  Gustus  sprang  after  it,  but  at  his 
approach  the  squirrel  darted  farther  away,  land- 
ing on  top  of  a  rocker.  Gustus  still  pursued, 
whereupon  the  squirrel  sprang  over  on  Harvey's 
shoulder,  and,  turning  upon  Gustus,  showed  its 
teeth  even  more  than  it  had  a  moment  before, 
scolding  away  in  true  squirrel  fashion. 

Gustus's  eyes  rolled  until  only  the  whites 
showed,  and  his  sides  shook  from  good-natured 

"Ho,  ho,  ho !  How  do  dat  little  imp  know  Pse 
black?  It  wouldn't  be  'fraid  ob  me  if  I  wuz  white 
like  you  all.  Jes'  hear  'im.  Him  says,  '  Gustus, 
yoh  black  niggah  yob,  don't  yoh  come  near  me. 
I  don't  like  yo'  black  skin.     I  likes  white  folks.' " 

Beth  feared  that  Le  might  feel  hurt  notwith- 
standing his  laughter. 

"  He'll  get  used  to  you  soon,  Gustus." 

*'  Get  used  to  a  black  boy  like  me  ?  I  reckon 
not.  Missy  Beth.  'Pears  like  dey  nebbeh  do  like 
black  folks.  Ho,  ho,  ho  !  Jes'  hear  'im  keep  on 

56  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

The  opening  of  the  door  interrupted  him. 
Maggie  poked  her  turbaned  head  into  the  room. 

"  Suppeh's  all  ready,  if  yoh  all's  ready  foh  it." 

Beth's  face  fell.  She  hated  to  have  them  leave 
her  even  for  a  short  while,  but  she  would  utter 
no  word  of  complaint  because  they  had  all  been 
so  good  to  her.  She  turned  her  face  toward  the 
wall  so  that  they  might  not  see  that  she  felt 

Quite  a  bustling  in  the  room  followed.  Curi- 
osity overcame  Beth's  momentary  bad  feelings, 
and  she  looked  to  see  what  was  going  on.  Two 
tables,  already  set  for  supper,  had  been  brought 
in  and  placed  together.  Yases  of  flowers,  real 
roses  brought  all  the  way  from  Florida,  adorned 
the  tables,  and  chairs  were  being  drawn  around 
the  festal  board. 

"  Oh,  are  you  going  to  eat  in  here  ? "  ques- 
tioned Beth. 

"Yes,  'deed,  honey,"  answered  Maggie  who 
had  just  reentered,  carrying  a  great  platter  of 
fried  chicken.  Behind  her  came  Gustus  with  the 
sweet  potatoes  and  hot  biscuits.  "  I  'lowed  as 
how  our  little  queen'd  like*  to  have  company  for 
supper  dis  night." 

"  I  guess  I  really  am  a  fairy  queen,"  murmured 
Beth  as  the  others  seated  themselves.  For  a  mo- 
ment or  two  she  was  in  such  an  ecstatic  frame  of 
mind  that  she  hardly  realized  that  she  was  still 
on  earth.     Then  as  the  covers  were  lifted  from 

The  Surprise  57 

the  steaming  dishes,  earthly  desires  once  more 
took  possession  of  her. 

"  I'm  hungry,  I  want  something  to  eat,"  she 

"Yoh  done  has  de  fust  helpin',  honey,"  de- 
clared Maggie,  carrying  a  tray  full  of  dainties 
that  she  had  prepared  herself,  and  which  she 
placed  on  a  pillow  in  front  of  Beth.  Never  did 
Beth  enjoy  a  meal  more  than  the  one  that  night. 
A  single  incident  alone  marred  their  pleasure, 
and  even  that  had  its  ludicrous  side. 

"  Look  out,  Mary,  there's  one  of  those  yellow 
jackets  that  stung  you  this  noon,"  said  Mr.  Daven- 
port as  the  table  was  being  cleared  for  dessert. 
*'  Gustus,  try  to  drive  it  out." 

Gustus,  who  was  waiting  on  the  table,  had 
just  removed  an  almost  empty  plate  of  honey, 
and,  without  stopping  to  set  it  down,  picked  up  a 
duster  with  his  free  hand,  and  began  chasing  the 

"  You'd  better  look  out,  Gustus,  it  may  sting 
you,  and  then  you'll  find  it  no  laughing  matter 
as  you  did  when  I  was  stung  this  noon." 

"Were  you  stung,  mamma,  and  did  Gustus 
laugh  ?  " 

"  Yes,  Beth.  I  didn't  tell  you  about  it  at  the 
time  because  we  didn't  want  you  to  know  that 
Gustus  was  here." 

Gustus  stopped  his  wild  chase  a  moment.  His 
thick  lips  expanded  into  a  great  smile.     "  She 

58  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

vvuz  powerful  funny,  Missy  Beth.  I  jes'  couldn't 
keep  from  laughin'." 

"  Gustus  was  the  funny  one,  Beth,"  declared 
Marian,  loyal  to  her  mother.  "  Papa  sent  him 
out  for  some  mud  as  it's  good  for  a  hornet's  sting, 
and  Gustus,  after  being  gone  the  longest  time, 
came  back  without  any.  He  said  he  couldn't 
find  any  mud  ;  he  hadn't  sense  enough  to  know 
that  dirt  and  water  make  mud." 

To  escape  the  laugh  that  followed,  Gustus 
rushed  from  the  room. 

"  I  think  he  succeeded  in  getting  the  hornet 
out.     It's  nowhere  around,"  said  Mr.  Davenport. 

"  Ow,  ow,  ow,"  yelled  Gustus  outside.  Then 
he  hopped  back  into  the  room,  and  danced  round 
and  round.  Great  tears  rolled  down  his  black 
face,  and  his  thick  upper  lip  was  fast  swelling  to 
twice  its  size. 

"  It's  jedgment  on  me,"  he  cried  between  his 
howls.  "  I  jes'  shouldn't  have  laughed  at  Miss 
Mary.  I'll  nebbeh,  nebbeh,  so  long  as  I  lib,  laugh 
at  any  one  in  mis'ry  agin.  Ret'bution  is  sure  to 
overtake  one,  de  minister  done  tole  us  dat,  an'  I 
ought  have  known  bettah  dan  to  have  laughed. 
Ow,  ow !  " 

"  It's  honey  that  took  the  hornet  to  your  lips. 
You  shouldn't  have  licked  the  dish,"  admonished 
Mrs.  Davenport. 

He  ceased  his  capers  for  a  moment.  "  I  'clah 
to  goodness  dat " 

The  Surprise  59 

"  Gustus,  be  careful,"  warned  Beth.  "  Your 
lips  are  sticky  still,  and  it's  worse  to  lie  than  it  is 
to  laugh." 

He  rolled  his  eyes  tragically.  "Well — well, 
Missy  Beth,  I  don't  jes'  see  how  it  did  happen, 
but  some  way,  'fob  I  knowed  it,  dat  dish  did  get 
up  some  disaccountable  way  right  by  my  mouth, 
an'  I  did  taste  somethin'  like  honey.  De  dish 
wuz  mos'  empty  anyhow." 

Mrs.  Davenport,  from  her  own  experience,  knew 
that  Gustus  must  really  be  suffering.  "  You've 
been  punished  sufficiently,  I  think,  so  that  you'll 
not  let  dishes  get  up  to  your  lips  again,  Gustus. 
Go  down  now  and  see  if  Maggie  can  suggest 
anything  to  help  you.  We'll  wait  a  moment  for 
the  ice  cream  and  cake." 

While  waiting,  Beth  propped  her  doll  up  beside 
her.  The  kitten  had  fallen  asleep  at  the  foot 
of  the  bed ;  the  squirrel  held  undisputed  sway 
under  the  bedclothes ;  the  mocking-bird  slept  in 
its  cage,  and  Duke  was  patiently  waiting  for 
Maggie  to  call  him  below  for  his  supper.  Beth 
smiled  from  sheer  happiness. 

"  I  have  a  pretty  fine  family  now,  haven't  I  ? 
I  don't  believe  any  one  has  any  nicer  pets." 

Marian  looked  toward  her  father  who  nodded 
his  head  as  if  giving  her  permission  to  say  some- 

"You  have  one  pet,  Beth,  that  you  know 
nothing  about.     Ask  papa  about  it." 

6o  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Beth  looked  inquiringly  toward  her  father. 
"  Have  you  something  for  me,  too  ?  " 

"  Yes,  dear,"  he  assured  her  with  a  loving 

"  Guess  what  it  is,  Beth,"  cried  Marian  and 
Harvey  and  Julia  almost  in  the  same  breath.  To 
their  minds  this  was  the  great  surprise  of  the 

Beth  shook  her  head.  "I  can't  guess.  It 
seems  to  me  I  have  everything  in  the  world  I 

"  You'll  like  it  best  of  all.  It  will  carry  you 
up  the  mountains  when  you're  well." 

"  Not  a  pony  !  "  cried  Beth,  her  heart  thump- 
ing wildly. 

"No,  not  a  pony,  but "     Mr.  Davenport 

drew  from  his  pocket  a  picture.  "  Well,  you  can 
see  for  yourself  what  it  is.  We  couldn't  bring  it 
in  to  you,  so  I  took  a  picture  of  it  as  Gustus  was 
leading  it  home." 

At  first  glance  Beth  was  disappointed.  A 
saucy,  sturdy  mule  with  ears  flopped  back  was 
what  she  saw. 

"In  time  I  may  grow  to  love  you,  but  a 
pony  would  have  been  much  nicer,"  was  her 
first  thought. 

It  was  funny,  but  in  the  picture  the  mule 
seemed  to  be  disgusted  at  the  idea  of  her  liking 
a  pony,  better  than  his  fine,  sturdy  self.  She 
even  felt  as  if  he  was  winking  at  her,  and  from 

The  Surprise  61 

that  moment,  she  loved  her  new  possession.  The 
very  impudence  of  his  bearing  won  her  heart. 
She  hardly  knew  how  to  thank  her  father,  and 
so  she  made  him  come  over  to  her  and  kissed 
him  over  and  over  again,  murmuring,  "  Oh,  you 
dear,  good  papa ;  you  dear,  good  papa  !  " 

*'  So  you  like  him  even  before  you  know  the 
reason  why  I  bought  a  mule  instead  of  a  pony  ? 
A  mule,  being  so  sure  footed,  will  carry  you 
much  more  safely  over  the  mountains." 

Maggie  now  entered  with  the  ice  cream. 

"  How's  Gustus  ?  "  asked  Beth. 

"I'se  done  'im  all  up,  an'  yet  he  jes'  keeps 
howlin'  an'  howlin',  an'  I  can't  noways  stop  'im." 

"  Send  him  up  here,  and  I'll  give  him  a  dish  of 
cream.  That'll  stop  him  if  anything  will,"  de- 
clared Beth. 

"  You  all  coddle  dat  chile  dreadful,"  muttered 
Mao^Me  as  she  left  the  room.  Ever  since  Gustus 
had  been  taken  into  the  Davenport  family,  she 
had  disciplined  the  colored  boy,  whereby  he  had 
profited  greatly.  She  considered  it  her  duty  to 
appear  more  strict  than  she  really  was. 

"  Yoh  all'll  be  sho  to  laugh,"  sobbed  a  muffled 
voice  outside  the  door  a  moment  later. 

"  We'll  remember  how  retribution  overtakes 
one  and  not  laugh,"  promised  Mr.  Davenport. 

The  door  opened  very  cautiously,  and  Gustus, 
more  subdued  than  they  had  ever  seen  him, 
entered  quietly.     His  mouth  and  one  eye  were 

62  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

covered  by  a  cloth  tied  in  a  bow-knot  at  the  back 
of  his  woolly  head.  Nobody  laughed,  but  Beth 
had  to  hide  her  head  under  the  bedclothes  to 
keep  from  it,  and  the  others  hardly  dared  look  at 

"  Missy  Beth,  is  yoh  laughin'  ?  " 

She  emerged  from  under  the  covers.  "I 
wouldn't  laugh  for  the  world,  Gustus,"  but  a 
quiver  about  the  corners  of  her  mouth  was  not  to 
be  repressed. 

Even  Gustus  indulged  in  a  sickly  smile.  "I 
reckon  I  am  powerful  funny  wid  dis  cloth,  but  it 
kinder  'stracts  my  'tention.  'Stead  ob  feelin'  all 
mouth  as  I  did,  I  feels  all  cloth.  I  jes'  couldn't 
do  widout  it  now." 

There  was  a  merry  twinkle  in  Beth's  eyes. 
"  I  suppose  you  couldn't  take  it  off  even  to  eat  a 
dish  of  ice  cream." 

"  Ice  cream,"  repeated  Gustus,  "  ice  cream  ? 
Dat'd  'stract  my  'tention  more'n  any  cloth  in  de 
world,"  and  with  the  words  he  loosened  the 
bandage  revealing  his  swollen  lip.  "  Does  I  look 
moah  funny  now  ?  " 

Beth  could  not  answer  truthfully  without  hurt- 
ing his  feelings,  so  she  said,  "  Don't  think  about 
your  lip,  Gustus.  Just  take  that  plate  of  cream 
from  papa,  and  think  about  that." 

This  was  pleasing  advice  to  him.  He  chose 
a  seat  in  the  far  corner  of  the  room,  and  gradu- 

The  Surprise  63 

ally,  under  the  benign  influence  of   the  cream, 
content  once  more  took  possession  of  him. 

"  Missy  Beth,  if  it  hadn't  been  foh  dat  imp  ob 
darkness,  dis'd  been  one  ob  de  happiest  days  ob 
my  life,"  he  muttered  as  the  last  drop  of  the 
cream  trickled  down  his  throat,  "  but  I  don't 
even  mind  de  pain  now.  I  jes'  'members  how 
scrumptious  it  am  to  be  wid  yoh  all.  An'  I'll  be 
mighty  careful  not  to  laugh  agin  at  nobody, 
foh  if  one  laughs,  it's  jes'  as  de  minister  'lowed, 
ret'bution's  sho  to  follow." 


Beth  Meets  Carol 

On  the  side  porch  in  a  hammock,  Beth 
propped  herself  on  her  elbow  for  a  better  view  of 
the  mountains.  The  sun  was  shining,  but  clouds 
were  settling  over  the  tallest  ridges  while  the  blue 
haze  was  deepening.  Seen  thus  the  mountains 
were  even  grander  than  Beth  had  expected.  She 
drew  in  a  very  deep  breath,  almost  too  happy  for 
words  in  which  to  express  her  joy  over  being  out- 
doors once  more  in  such  a  grand  world. 

"  I  hope  the  clouds  don't  mean  rain,"  exclaimed 
Marian,  anxiously  scanning  the  sky. 

^'  Here  comes  Gustus,"  called  Julia  who  had 
skipped  down  to  the  foot  of  the  piazza  steps. 
"  He's  bringing  your  mule  for  you  to  see." 

The  next  instant  Beth  beheld  her  mule  for  the 
first  time. 

''  Ain't  he  scrumptious.  Missy  Beth  ?  "  called 
Gustus,  duly  proud  of  the  mule's  glossy  coat  of 
brown  that  fairly  glistened  from  much  brushing. 
To  make  a  good  impression,  Gustus  switched  the 
mule  with  a  whip. 

Not  understanding  the  good  intentions  of 
Gustus,  his  lordship  resented  the  indignity  by 
letting  fly  a  pair  of  hind  heels  which  so  surprised 

68  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Gustus  that  he  almost  loosened  his  hold  on  the 
mule.     The  next  moment  he  chuckled. 

"  Ho,  ho  !  He  sairtainly  am  quick  in  his 
hinders,  Missy  Beth.  I'd  nebbeh  trust  my  skin 
'hind  him." 

^'  He  didn't  like  your  whipping  him  for  noth- 
ing," answered  Beth  reprovingly. 

"  He  done  must  have  some  style  'bout  him," 
muttered  Gustus,  giving  his  charge  another  sly 
cut  with  the  whip.  This  time  the  mule  not 
only  let  his  heels  fly,  but  nipped  viciously  at 
Gustus  who  had  to  dodge  to  escape  the  animal's 
sharp  teeth. 

"  Gustus,  you  mustn't  treat  my  mule  that  way," 
said  Beth.  Then  after  a  moment  she  added, 
"  What's  his  name  ?  " 

He  ran  his  fingers  through  his  woolly  locks. 
"  Ain't  no  name  dat  I  knows  of.  Keckon  yo'll 
have  to  give  'im  one.  Missy  Beth." 

"  How  would  Kicker  do  ?  "  inquired  Harvey 
who  had  come  out  in  time  to  witness  the  mule's 
acrobatic  ability. 

"  It  wasn't  his  fault.  I'll  not  have  my  mule 
slandered,"  cried  Beth. 

"  He  knows  how  to  kick  anyway.  I  think 
Kicker  a  good  name,"  persisted  Harvey  as  much 
to  tease  as  in  earnest. 

"  And  if  you  didn't  want  people  to  know  your 
meaning,  you  might  call  him  Rueur,"  proposed 
Marian,  who  was  studying  French.     "  Just  the 

Beth  Meets  Carol  69 

other  day,  I  read  in  a  story  of  a  *  mulet  rueur  ' 
and  found  that  it  meant  a  kicking  mule." 

"  I  rather  like  the  name,  and  have  half  a  mind 
to  call  him — what  did  you  say  kicker  was  in 
French,  Marian  ?  " 

"  Eueur." 

"  So  you  agree,  Beth,  that  Kueur  is  a  kicker  ?  " 
questioned  Harvey  in  hopes  of  making  her  eyes 

"  I  didn't  really  say  I'd  name  him  Eueur,  but 
if  I  do,  it's  not  for  the  reason  you  think." 

*'  Why  is  Kueur — the  name  seems  to  have  fas- 
tened upon  his  muleship  already — why  do  you 
call  him  JRueur  then  ?  "  He  fully  expected  one 
of  her  quaint  conceits,  and  was  not  disappointed. 

"  I  call  him  Rueur — he  really  is  named  now — 
because  he  is  to  carry  me  all  around  the  country 
and  perchance  we'll  come  across  strange  adven- 
tures together."  She  was  garbing  her  ideas  in 
the  manner  of  the  legends  that  had  been  read 
her  during  her  imprisonment.  "  And  then 
always  at  the  right  moment  my  Knight  Rueur 
is  to  kick  at  the  vvrong,  but  never  at  the  right." 
When  she  saw  that  her  friends  were  smiling 
over  her  conceit,  she  added,  "  Well  it  was  at  the 
wrong  he  did  kick  just  now.  You  can't  deny  it, 
and  I'll  wager  I  know  Knight  Rueur's  character 
better  than  you  do.  I  wish  I  could  go  forth  on 
Ruenr  this  very  minute." 

Harvey    and   Marian   exchanged   glances   by 

yo  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

which  means  Beth  knew  there  was  something 
unusual  in  the  air. 

"  What  are  you  two  up  to  ?  " 

"  If  you  don't  mind,  Beth,  Harvey  and  I  are 
going  out  riding  this  afternoon,"  answered  Mar- 
ian slightly  hesitating. 

Beth  looked  perplexed.  "Not  both  of  you  on 
Rueur  ?  " 

"  No,  indeed.  Papa  bought  two  fine  saddle 
horses.  He  and  mamma  both  expect  to  ride. 
Everybody  does  up  here.  I'm  going  to  tease 
papa  to  buy  me  a  mule." 

"  You  can  ride  Rueur  whenever  you  want, 
Marian."  Try  as  hard  as  she  would  a  lump 
would  rise  in  her  throat  so  that  her  voice 
showed  her  emotion. 

"  If  you  mind,  we'll  stay  home,"  offered 

"  No,  no,  you  must  go,"  she  answered,  gulping 
down  the  disquieting  lump.  "  It's  only  that  I 
want  to  ride  so  much  myself,  but  your  staying 
home  wouldn't  let  me  go." 

"  I'm  to  stay  with  you,  Beth,"  said  Julia. 

For  a  moment  Beth  had  a  struggle  to  be  un- 
selfish. The  afternoon  without  any  of  them  did 
loom  up  rather  forlorn,  and  she  believed  that  she 
and  Julia  together  could  have  a  fine  time ;  but, 
judging  by  herself,  she  knew  that  Julia  would 
much  rather  ride,  so  she  said  resolutely : 

"  Julia,  you  must  go  with  Marian  and  Harvey. 

Beth  Meets  Carol  71 

You  shall  ride  Rueur.  No,  I'll  not  listen  to  a 
word.  Go  and  get  ready  this  minute.  I'm 
queen,  you  know,  and  must  be  obeyed.  Bring 
my  squirrel  back  to  keep  me  company,  and  I 
want  to  see  you  start." 

Not  to  spoil  their  pleasure,  she  appeared  smil- 
ing before  them  even  when  they  were  all 
mounted  ready  for  the  departure. 

"  One,  two,  three — go,"  called  Beth,  perhaps  a 
little  tremulously. 

Marian  and  Harvey  lightly  touched  their 
steeds  with  their  whips  and  away  they  started. 
Julia  likewise  whipped  Rueur,  whereupon  back 
on  his  haunches  settled  the  stubborn  mule. 
Julia  struck  harder,  which  only  made  Rueur  flap 
his  ears  in  an  impudent  manner  as  much  as  to 
say,  "  I'm  too  big  to  mind  a  little  girl  like  you." 

*'  Perhaps  if  Harvey  starts  with  you,  Rueur 
will  do  better,"  suggested  Beth  ashamed  of  the 
behavior  of  her  mule. 

But  the  minute  the  horse  approached  the  mule, 
his  lordship  began  to  kick,  whereupon  the  horse 
bit  at  Rueur,  while  both  animals  flopped  back 
their  ears  in  an  angry  manner. 

"  I — I  don't  like  mules,"  murmured  Julia. 

"  We'll  change,"  proposed  Harvey,  and  al- 
though Julia  hated  to  acknowledge  herself 
defeated,  she  was  only  too  glad  to  escape  from 
a  kicking  mule.  So  in  a  few  moments  she  was 
upon  the  horse  while  Harvey  mounted  the  mule. 

72  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Still  Kueur  refused  to  budge.  Whipping  had 
no  effect,  although  Harvey  was  so  disgusted 
that  he  lashed  the  stubborn  animal  vigorously. 

Gustus,  alone,  was  amused  over  the  situation. 
He  laughed  until  the  tears  rolled  down  his  face, 
but  Beth  disapproved  of  his  mirth. 

"  I'm  ashamed  of  you,  Gustus.  It's  silly  to 

He  suddenly  sobered.  "  I  know  what  dat  stub- 
born Mr.  Mule  needs.  Massa  Harve,  yoh  wait  a 
second  till  I  come  back,"  he  called  running  into 
the  house. 

As  there  was  small  likelihood  of  Harvey's 
being  able  to  start,  he  ceased  from  his  efforts 
and  waited  to  see  what  Gustus  would  offer. 

"  It's  horrid  to  be  so  stubborn.  I'll  never  be 
stubborn  again,"  Beth  said  to  herself. 

In  a  moment  Gustus  returned  dangling  a  pair 
of  spurs. 

"  Ha,  ha,"  he  chuckled.  "  Wid  dese,  Mr.  Mule, 
you'll  be  as  meek  as  Moses." 

So  it  proved.  One  touch  of  the  spurs  to 
Eueur's  hide,  and  away  he  galloped  setting  the 
horses  a  lively  pace.  Gustus  ran  down  the  pine 
road  to  watch  the  riders  as  long  as  possible. 

Beth  could  not  repress  a  sigh.  Pensively  she 
gazed  at  the  chained  squirrel  sleeping  in  the 
hammock  beside  her.  In  a  moment  it  awakened, 
trying  to  sit  up,  but  was  entangled  by  the  chain. 

"  You  poor  little  thing,  you  don't  like  being  a 

Beth  Meets  Carol  73 

captive  any  better  than  I  do.  I've  half  a  mind 
to  let  you  go.     I'd  miss  you,  but " 

She  looked  out  at  the  pine  trees,  noting  in 
particular  one  whose  limbs  touched  the  side  of 
the  piazza  rail. 

"  First  you'd  spring  up  that  branch.  Perhaps 
you'd  pause  a  moment  to  let  me  know  how 
happy  you  were  to  be  free.  Then  on  and  on 
you'd  bound,  oh,  so  joyously.  Maybe  you'd  find 
a  playmate."  At  that  moment  a  human  play- 
mate was  what  Beth  desired  above  all  else  in 
the  world,  so  she  judged  the  squirrel's  desire 
for  happiness  by  her  own. 

Without  further  consideration,  she  slipped  the 
collar  from  the  small  captive's  neck.  In  an 
instant  it  sprang  toward  the  railing  as  Beth 
had  foreseen.  Immediately  repenting  of  her 
kindly  impulse,  Beth  reached  out  to  recapture 
the  squirrel,  but  already  it  was  beyond  her 
grasp,  having  nimbly  climbed  up  into  the  tree. 
It  paused  as  she  had  speculated  and,  cocking  its 
head,  eyed    her  reproach  full  v,  seeming  to  say  : 

*'  Even  if  you  are  sorry,  I  thank  you,"  and 
then  was  off  like  a  flash. 

"  Gustus,  come  here,"  cried  Beth  in  distress. 

For  a  wonder  he  came  running  in  answer. 

"  Gustus,  see  my  squirrel  up  there  ?  If  you 
catch  it,  I'll  give  you  a  quarter." 

His  eyes  grew  big  at  the  offer.  "  Yoh  ain't 
'ceivin'  me  ?  " 

74  A.  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Assured  that  she  was  in  earnest,  he  darted 
away  in  pursuit. 

"  Yer  warn't  peart-like  to  let  hit  go.  Squir- 
rels be  powerful  nimble,"  announced  a  voice 
below,  so  unexpectedly  that  Beth  jumped. 

No  human  being  but  Gustus,  fast  disappearing 
down  the  hill  below,  was  in  sight. 

"  Hit'll  starve  to  death,"  continued  the  voice. 
"  Thar  hain't  any  nuts  now,  an'  hit  hain't  any 
stored  up  like  hit  had  been  wild  always." 

The  unknown  one's  words  made  Beth  uneasy, 
although  at  the  moment  curiosity  was  the  upper- 
most feeling  with  her. 

"  Who  are  you,  any  way  ?    And  where  are  you  ?  " 

"  I'm  Carol,"  and  out  from  under  the  porch  the 
mountain  girl  emerged. 

"  Carol  ?  "  repeated  Beth.  The  name  sounded 
familiar  but  she  was  unable  for  the  moment  to 
remember  where  she  had  heard  it. 

^'  I'm  called  Carol  now,  though  I  wuz  named 
Ca'line  'cause  I  wuz  born  in  Ca'lina.  Then  a 
lady  she  called  me  Carol  'cause  I  wuz  always 
likin'  to  sing.     Maw  sometimes  calls  me  Cal." 

Beth  was  not  paying  much  attention  to  the 
explanation.  She  was  studying  out  where  she 
had  heard  the  name. 

''Oh,  I  know  now!"  she  exclaimed  suddenly. 
"  You're  the  girl  who  told  Maggie  about  the 
accident  the  night  I  was  hurt.  She  told  me 
about  you.'* 

Beth  Meets  Carol  75 

Carol  smiled.  At  first  Beth  had  not  thought 
her  at  all  good  looking,  but  with  a  smile  her  face 
lighted  up  so  remarkably  that  Beth  was  inclined 
to  change  her  opinion. 

"  You're  not  like  what  I  expected  from  what 
Maggie  said  about  you,"  said  Beth. 

"  Yer  looks  jes'like  what  I  'spected,  only  sweeter 
like,"  announced  Carol,  and  then  suddenly  grew 
bashful.  jSTot  daring  to  raise  her  blue  eyes,  much 
as  she  wished  to  do  so,  she  twined  her  fingers  in 
and  out  in  nervous  agitation. 

"  My  name  is  Beth — or  rather  Elizabeth  Daven- 
port." This  information  was  tendered  by  Beth 
to  relieve  Carol's  embarrassment. 

Once  more  Carol  smiled,  which  confirmed  Beth 
in  her  thought  that  a  smile  did  wonders  for  the 
rather  wizened  face  before  her. 

"Weuns  knowed  all  'bout  yer."  Once  her 
tongue  was  loosened  she  found  delight  in  telling 
things  to  Beth.  "  Day  after  day,  I've  hung  'round 
hopin'  to  see  yer.  I  felt  ter'ble  'bout  the  acci- 
dent, an'  when  I  seen  yer  out  to-day,  I  wuz  that 
joyful  that  I  wuz  full  of  song  here,"  pressing  her 
heart.  "I  wanted  ter  go  an'  pick  flowers  fer 
yer,  but  I  had  to  tell  yer  first  how  joyful  I  am." 

Such   enthusiasm  surprised  but  pleased  Beth. 

"  You  are  very  good  to  be  so  interested,"  she 
answered.     "  Where  do  you  live  ?  " 

"  We're  neighbors.  I  live  yonder  in  the  holler, 
on  yer  paw's  land.     My  paw  worked  on  shares 

76  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

one  while,  but  we  uns  don't  have  to  work  now. 
We  uns  is  very  rich." 

In  undisguised  curiosity  Beth  eyed  Carol.  The 
mountain  girl  was  very  queerly  dressed  for  a  rich 
person.  In  fact  her  clothes  were  so  very  old  that 
they  were  almost  ragged,  and  she  was  bare- 

"  A  rich  girl  might  go  barefooted.  I've  done 
so  myself,"  thought  Beth,  "  but  she'd  surely 
dress  better." 

Carol  read  her  thoughts.  For  a  moment  she 
appeared  ashamed,  and  then  she  tossed  her  head 
almost  haughtily. 

"  Our  money's  tied  up  in  the  courts  now,  but 
I'm  goin'  to  have  silks  an'  satins  later." 

"  Oh,"  but  Beth  was  not  much  enlightened. 
She  would  have  liked  to  question  Carol  if  she  had 
considered  it  polite.  She  was  really  growing  in- 
terested in  the  quaint  character  before  her. 

"  I'd  like  to  have  you  spend  the  afternoon 
with  me,"  she  said.  "  If  you  don't,  I'll  be  all 
alone.  Mamma  thinks  Julia's  with  me  so  she'll 
not  hurry  home.     Can't  you  stay  ?  " 

Carol  nodded  her  head  and  seated  herself  on 
the  topmost  step  near  the  hammock.  She  wound 
her  arms,  much  too  long  and  lanky  for  her  figure, 
around  her  knees,  and  in  this  attitude  gazed  up 
at  Beth.  Again  she  smiled  and  a  light  came 
into  her  eyes  that  won  Beth's  heart. 

"  I'm  goin'  to  love  yer  heaps.     I  love  yer  al- 

Beth  Meets  Carol  77 

ready,"  she  murmured.  "  Yer  don't  mind  if  I 
tell  yer  things  ?    I've  no  one  else  to  talk  to." 

During  the  last  weeks  Beth  herself  had  felt 
lonely  many  times  in  spite  of  the  great  love  that 
had  been  lavished  upon  her,  and  Carol's  craving 
for  companionship  appealed  to  her.  "  I'd  like  to 
have  you  tell  me  things,"  she  answered. 

"  We  uns  lived  in  Al'bama  onct,  an'  grandpaw 
stayed  thar  when  we  uns  cum  back  to  the  moun- 
tains to  live,  an'  hit's  through  him  stayin'  thar, 
we're  to  hev  money.  We're  to  hev  heaps  an' 
heaps.  More'n  yer,  I  reckon.  We're  to  be  very 
rich  folks,  an'  I'm  to  take  singin'  lessons." 

"Oh,"  exclaimed  Beth  for  the  second  time. 
Then,  ashamed  of  her  monosyllables,  she  asked, 
"  Do  you  want  to  take  singing  lessons  ?  " 

Carol  clasped  her  hands  impulsively.  "  Want 
to  take  um  ?  "  she  murmured.  "  Oh,  I  want  to 
take  um  so  much  I  can't  tell  yer  how  much." 

"  Do  you  really  like  singing  ?  "  questioned  Beth 
in  surprise.  She  was  even  more  surprised  to  note 
how  the  mountain  girl's  face  lighted  up  at  the 

"  I  hain't  never  hearn  much  singin'  'cept  the 
birds',  but  I  like  better'n  any  thin'  to  think  how 
singin'  should  be.  I  try  an'  try  till  I  get  a  song 
the  way  hit  seems  hit  should  be." 

"  Do  you  really  sing  that  way  ?  "  Beth  asked 
almost  incredulously. 

The    radiant    expression   faded   from   Carol's 

78  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

face.  "I  'lows  that  what  I  sing  don't  'mount  to 
much  like  I'd  like,  but  if  I  had  lessons  maybe 
hit  would.     Do  yer  reckon  so  ?  " 

"Maybe."  For  some  reason  Beth  had  little 
faith  in  her  new  friend's  singing  ability  and 
hastened  to  change  the  subject.  "  I'd  love  to  go 
to  the  top  of  that  mountain.  Have  you  ever 
been  up  there  ? "  She  looked  toward  Hog- 

"  What,  Hogback  thar  ?  "  Carol's  tones  were 
contemptuous  and  her  thumb  once  more  went 
over  her  shoulder.  "  Why,  when  we  uns  first 
cum  that's  whar  we  went,  'way  up  thar,  an'  I 
don't  hanker  at  all  to  go  back.  I  had  to  tote 
vegetables  miles  an'  miles  to  earn  a  few  pennies 
to  keep  us  from  bein'  without  any  clothes.  I 
tell  yer  I  grew  so  powerful  tired  of  trudgin'  up 
an'  down  that  thar  mountain  that  I  don't  never 
want  to  see  hit  no  more.  I  can't  believe  yer'd 
like  to  go  up  jes'  fer  pleasure,  but  if  yer  really 
mean  hit,  I'll  show  yer  all  'round  up  thar  some 
day.  Perhaps  yer'd  like  to  see  the  spot  whar 
Brune  killed  the  wildcat  that  wuz  after  me." 

"A  wildcat?"  repeated  Beth,  fearing  that 
Carol  might  be — well,  not  exactly  truthful. 
Then  she  added,  "  Who's  Brune  ?  " 

"  Him  ?  Why,  Brune's  my  dawg.  Here, 
Brune ! "  she  called.  "  He's  sure  to  come  in  a 
minute.  He's  never  far  off.  Him's  too  perlite 
to  come  without  bein'  called.    Come  on,  Brune." 

Beth  Meets  Carol  79 

A  beautiful  hunting  dog  came  bounding  around 
the  corner  of  the  house. 

"  Why,  what  a  fine  dog,"  exclaimed  Beth  sur- 
prised that  Carol  owned  anything  so  aristo- 

Carol  looked  pleased.  "  Brune's  rale  peart-like, 
all  right." 

Beth  coaxed  the  dog  to  her  side  and  stroked 
his  silky  head.  "How  did  you  come  to  get 
him  ?  "  she  asked. 

"  Onct,  when  we  uns  lived  up  thar,"  again  her 
thumb  pointed  to  the  mountain  back  of  her,  "  a 
hunter  man  'lowed  as  how  he  must  stay  all  night 
with  we  uns.  Hit  war  a  powerful  stormy  night. 
The  rain — wal,  thar  war  no  drops,  but  hit  cum 
in  such  floods  that  I  didn't  'low  but  as  how  our 
cabin  with  we  uns  in  hit  mought  be  washed  down 
the  mountain." 

"  Do  they  have  storms  like  that  up  here  ?  " 

Carol  giggled.  "  Wal,  I  should  say !  Why, 
the  clouds  let  go  all  to  onct,  an'  down  comes  the 
water  like  as  bucketfuls  war  bein'  poured  down 
yer  back." 

"  I  should  love  to  see  a  storm  like  that,"  cried 

Carol  looked  over  her  shoulder  at  the  fast- 
gathering  clouds  along  the  mountain  tops, 
"  Peers  like  to  me  you'll  have  yer  wish  right 

"  Goody,"  cried  Beth,  but  the  next  instant  her 

8o  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

face  grew  serious.  "  I  hope  they  will  get  back 
before  it  storms." 

"  So  do  I."  Carol  was  more  anxious  than  Beth 
about  the  riders.  She  knew  only  too  well  the 
nature  of  these  mountain  storms.  Her  mind 
pictured  the  children  riding  along  the  slippery 
clay  roads.  She  saw  the  swollen  streams  and 
the  terrifying  lightning  that  brought  into  bold 
prominence  the  jutting  rocks  and  dark  ravines, 
and  she  wondered  what  the  children  would  do  if 
they  were  caught  out  in  the  coming  storm. 

Beth's  thought  reverted  to  the  story. 

"  Go  on  about  how  Brune  came  to  you.  The 
hunter — did  he  stay  all  night  at  your  house  ?  " 

"  Yes,  though  paw  didn't  'low  as  how  he'd 
better,  he  'lowed  as  how  he  must." 

"  Why  didn't  your  father  want  him  to  stay  ?  " 

Carol  eyed  Beth  wistfully.  "  I  reckon  as  how 
hit  don't  be  no  matter  now  to  paw  if  I  do  tell, 
only  I  want  yer  to  think  well  of  me,  an'  yer 
won't.  But  ye're  sure  to  hear  'bout  us,  so  I 
mought  as  well  tell  myself."  She  hesitated,  hang- 
ing her  head.  "Did  yer  ever  hear  of  mountain 

Beth  shook  her  head,  and  Carol  looked  relieved. 

"  Hit's  somethin'  yer  need  a  license  fer,  an'  paw 
had  none,  an'  he  'lowed  as  how  the  hunter  man 
mought  find  hit  out,  but  as  hit  war  stormin'  so 
powerful  hard  an'  the  hunter  man  offered  a  sight 
of   money,    paw    let    him    stay.     You    see    we 

Beth  Meets  Carol  81 

uns  needed  money  dreadful  them  days  fer  hit 
war  pretty  hard  pickin',  an'  even  lately  hit's  been 
hard  pickin',  so  hard  that  I've  toted  water  up 
from  the  spring  to  earn  pennies.  We  haven't 
any  to  spend  now,  though  after  while  we're  to 
have  more  money  than  I  kin  count,  an'  I  don't 
reckon  even  yer  could  count  hit  all." 

"  Oh,"  Beth  began  to  think  the  exclamation 
would  grow  habitual  with  her  if  Carol  continued 
to  talk  of  their  wealth.  "She  will  persist  in 
having  riches.  I  wonder  if  there  isn't  some  truth 
in  what  she's  telling.  She  surely  couldn't  be  so 
untruthful,"  thought  Beth. 

Happil}^  unconscious  of  the  doubts  her  state- 
ments created,  Carol  continued,  "  We  uns — my 
brothers  and  sisters " 

"  How  many  have  you  ?  "  Beth  interrupted. 

Carol  looked  troubled.  "  Thar's  Pete  an'  Joe 
an'  Melinda  an'  Mary  an'  Martha  an'  Hezekiah 
an'  little  Sampson.     How  many  is  that?" 

"  Seven." 

"  An'  I'm  eio:ht.  Thar's  more  of  us  than  that 
'sides  what  died.  Let  me  see,"  she  held  up  her 
fingers  to  count  on.     "  Pete  an'  Joe  are  two." 

"Never  mind  counting  them."  Beth  did  not 
marvel  that  Carol  had  trouble  in  keeping  count 
of  such  a  large  family.     "  Go  on  about  Brune." 

Carol  shifted  her  position  and  leaning  up 
against  a  column  clasped  her  hands  back  of  her 
neck.     She  looked  at  Brune   who   had  settled 

82  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

down  on  the  ground  at  her  feet.  Her  eyes  ex- 
pressed her  intense  love,  and  even  her  voice  soft- 

"  He's  pearter-like  than  any  kid  I  know.  He 
hain't  no  fear  at  all.  Why,  I  reckon  as  how 
he'd  tackle  a  bar  if  he  had  any  call." 

"  A  bar  ?  "  repeated  Beth,  thinking  of  a  piece 
of  iron. 

"  Yes,  a  bar.  Hain't  yer  never  seen  a  bar  ? 
Thar  hain't  no  bars  here  'bouts,  but  they're 
ter'ble  wild  animals." 

"  Oh,  a  bear.     Well,  go  on  about  Brune." 

Beth  was  so  interested  about  the  wildcat  and 
Brune  that  she  had  forgotten  all  about  her 

"  Whar  wuz  I?  Oh,  'bout  the  hunter  man. 
We  littler  ones  didn't  know  'bout  him  stayin'  all 
night  'til  the  next  mornin'.  Then  I  found  out 
by  seein'  Brune  outdoors  when  I  went  fer  water. 
I  liked  him  from  the  moment  I  sot  eyes  on  him, 
an'  he  liked  me.  The  hunter  man  wuz  tired  an' 
slept  rale  late.  I  had  to  go  down  with  some 
things  to  sell  that  air  day,  an'  Brune  started  to 
follow.  I  tell  yer,  hit  war  lonesome  travelin' 
miles  an'  miles  on  foot  all  by  myself,  an'  so  I 
kinder  'low  as  how  I  mought  have  coaxed  him 
some.  Didn't  peer  like  hit'd  do  no  harm.  Yer 
see,  I  didn't  know  that  that  air  hunter  man  had 
planned  he  must  cotch  er  train  North,  an'  when 
hit  came   time   to  go  he  couldn't  no  whar  find 

Beth  Meets  Carol  83 

Brune,  an'  so  he  went  without  him.  Said  as 
how  he'd  come  back  some  time  fer  him,  but  I'm 
pow'ful  glad  I've  never  laid  eyes  on  him  since. 
I'd  feel  ter'ble  bad  to  part  with  Brune." 

Beth  readily  understood  how  this  could  be. 
"  I  shouldn't  think  the  *  hunter  man '  would  have 
gone  without  him.  He  looks  to  me  like  a  valu- 
able dog." 

"  Oh,  the  hunter  man  had  heaps  of  other 
dawgs.     Paw  said  as  how  he  had  funnels." 

Beth  puzzled  her  head  to  solve  the  meaning  of 
funnels,  but  could  not.      "  What  are  funnels  ?  " 

"Funnels?  Don't  yer  know?  I  'lowed  as 
how  yer'd  know  every  thin'.  Why,  funnels  are 
whar  rich  men  keep  dawgs  an'  raise  um." 

"  Oh,  you  mean  kennels."  To  keep  from  laugh- 
ing, Beth  hurriedly  inquired,  "  Didn't  Brune  miss 
his  master  at  first  ?  " 

"  Miss  him  ?  "  the  mountain  girl  repeated  half 
disdainfully,  half  jealously.  '*  Brune,  come  here. 
Yer  liked  me  better'n  him  from  the  very  firs', 
didn't  yer  ?  " 

The  instant  she  called,  the  dog  arose  and 
walked  majestically  up  to  her,  placing  a  cold  nose 
against  the  hand  held  out  to  him.  Carol  turned 
triumphantly  to  Beth. 

"  Yer  see.  An'  look,  here  air  the  scars  I  tole 
yer  'bout.     Hit's  whar  the  wildcat  clawed  Brune." 

All  over  Brune's  head  and  neck  were  scars,  and 
Beth   eyed   them   in  astonishment.      Until  this 

84  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

moment  her  faith  as  to  there  having  been  any 
wildcat  adventure  had  been  small. 

"  And  there  are  really,  truly  wildcats  in  the 
mountains  ! "  she  exclaimed  eagerly,  her  eyes 
very  big  and  bright  in  wonder. 

"  Yer  didn't  believe  me,  did  yer?"  Then, 
when  she  saw  Beth's  cheeks  crimson,  she  hastened 
on.  "  Yer  want  to  know  if  thar  air  wildcats  up 
here  ?  Wal,  if  one  tuk  after  yer,  an'  yer  'lowed  as 
every  minute'd  be  yer  last,  yer'd  know  thar  wuz 
without  askin'." 

"  And  one  really  got  after  you  that  way  ?  I — 
I" — stammered  Beth,  noting  a  hurt  look  on 
Carol's  face,  "  I  don't  doubt  your  word,  but  you 
see  I'm  not  used  to  thinking  of  wild  animals 
except  in  circuses  and  out  at  the  park ;  so  you 
mustn't  mind  if  I'm  surprised.     Please  go  on." 

Pacified  by  her  apology  and  interest,  Carol 
w^as  very  willing  to  continue.  "  I'd  hearn  the 
men  say  as  how  sometimes  thar  war  wildcats 
'bout,  but  I  scarcely  believed  um,  like  yer  didn't 

Again  Beth  blushed  guiltily,  but  she  was  think- 
ing at  the  same  time,  "  What  fun  it'll  be  to  tell 
Harvey  and  the  girls  about  Carol  and  the  wild- 

"  An*  'cause  I  wuz  careless  goin'  whar  hit  war 
wild  all  by  myself,  I  wuz  most  killed.  If  hit 
hadn't  been  for  Brune,  I'd  have  been  killed  as 
sura's  my  name's  Carol." 

Beth  Meets  Carol  85 

Beth's  eyes  were  growing  rounder  every  min- 
ute. She  almost  held  her  breath  in  order  to 
catch  every  word.  "  I'm  so  interested,"  she  mur- 
mured as  Carol  paused  a  moment.  "Do  go 

"  I  don't  jes'  remember  why  Brune  warn't 
with  me  at  first.  Most  likely  he  wuz  off  chasin' 
somethin'.  He  very  often  is.  I  wuz  walkin' 
through  the  woods  never  onct  thinkin'  'bout 
wildcats,  but  jes'  'lowed  as  how  I  must  hurry 
home  'cause  hit  wuz  suddently  grown  dark,  an' 
then — all  to  onct — I  seen  two  balls  of  fire  right 
'head  of  me,  what  knocked  the  sense  clean  out 
of  me.  I  didn't  move  or  screech.  I  jes'  stood 
still,  an'  that  wild  thing  stood  still  an'  glared,  an' 
glared.     Say,  wouldn't  yer  have  been  scared  ?" 

"  Well  I  should  say  so."  Beth  was  pale  at  the 
very  thought,  and  she  shuddered  slightly.  Carol 
enjoyed  the  effect  her  story  was  producing  and 
wished  to  prolong  it  as  much  as  possible. 

"What'd  yer  have  done  in  my  place  with 
those  awful  balls  of  fire  blazin'  right  into  yer  ?  " 

Beth  considered  a  moment.  "  If  I  couldn't 
run,  I'd  have  called  Duke." 

"  Who's  him  ?  Yer  dawg  ?  Well,  that's  jes' 
what  I  did.  I  called  Brune,  didn't  I,  Brune  ?  " 
He  was  still  beside  her  and  she  paused  to  stroke 
his  neck  where  the  scars  showed  the  ugliest.  '*  If 
hit  hadn't  been  fer  yer,  Brune,  my  own  neck'd 
been  like  that  only  much  worser  'cause  I  couldn't 

86  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

have  fit  like  yer.  An'  yer  wouldn't  have  had 
me  here  this  minute  to  love  yer  like  I  do." 

"  Did  he  come  as  soon  as  you  called  ?  "  Beth 
was  impatient  of  any  interruption  at  such  a 
critical  point. 

"  He  must  'ave  scented  danger  even  'fore  I 
called."  As  she  spoke,  her  hand  still  rested 
lovingly  on  the  healed  wounds,  and  Brune  looked 
up  into  her  face  as  if  he  knew  she  was  sounding 
his  praise.  He  wagged  his  tail  proudly.  His 
mistress  again  let  her  attention  stray  to  him. 
"  Yer'll  never  forget  that  moment,  will  yer, 
Brune  ?  I  don't  see  even  yet  how  yer  dared  face 
them  balls  of  fire  fer  me." 

Beth  began  to  fear  that  she  would  never  hear 
the  whole  story,  but  she  really  admired  Carol's 
devotion  to  Brune  because  of  her  own  liking  for 
dogs.  Therefore,  she  did  not  give  way  to  her 
impatience,  but  said  gently,  "Please  go  on, 

"Fust  thing  I  knowed,  he  jumped  out  of  ther 
bushes  with  his  back  all  up — 'most  'fore  I'd 
called.  He  sprang  right  toward  the  balls  of  fire, 
an'  jes'  pitched  right  in  an'  fit.  Yes,  fit  so 
hard  that  that  thar  wildcat  almost  killed  him.  I 
hearn  him  groan  onct  or  twict  quiet-like,  fer  he 
wuz  too  busy  to  think  of  his  own  pain.  I  wuz 
still  numb  with  fear  an'  all  I  could  do  wuz  to 
watch  with  my  heart  ready  to  fall  out.  I  reckon 
if  that  wildcat  had  killed  him,  I'd  have  jes'  stood 

Beth  Meets  Carol  87 

right  thar  'til  hit  killed  me  too.  Hit  seemed  as 
if  I  must  stay.  All  to  onct  that  thar  wildcat  got 
Brune  down,  an'  fer  a  moment  things  grew  black 
fer  me.  Folks  like  me  don't  faint,  but  I  reckon 
I  came  as  near  hit  as  I  ever  will  in  my  life.  But 
when  thar  seemed  no  hope  for  Brune,  fear  for 
my  dawg's  life  loosed  my  throat  an'  I  screamed 
an'  screamed  'til  paw  hearn,  an'  came  with  a  gun, 
an'  that  wuz  the  last  of  wildcat.  An'  I  fell  down 
beside  Brune  an'  cried  an'  cried,  fer  I  reckon'd  as 
how  he  wuz  done  fer.  But  he  wuzn't,  an'  I 
nursed  him  'til  he  wuz  well." 

Carol  arose.  "Wal,  I  reckon  as  how  Brune 
an'  me  must  be  goin'.  Maw '11  kinder  be  won- 

Beth  held  out  her  hand,  and  her  eyes  still 
shone.  "  I'm  so  glad  you  came.  I'm  very  much 
obliged  for  telling  me  about  the  wildcat.  You'll 
come  again,  won't  you  ?  " 

"  I  liked  bein'  here  better'n  yer  could  guess,  an' 
me  an'  Brune'll  surely  come  agin." 

Left  to  herself,  Beth  began  to  think  that  it 
was  about  time  for  the  horseback  riders  to  re- 
turn. "  They  promised  not  to  be  gone  long,"  she 

She  looked  toward  the  mountains.  In  the 
direction  of  Tremont  there  was  no  peak  now 
visible,  but  instead,  one  mass  of  dark,  angry 
clouds.  Carol's  description  came  back  to  trouble 

88  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  The  clouds  let  go  all  to  onct  an'  down  comes 
the  water  like  as  bucketfuls  war  bein'  poured 
down  yer  back." 

"  Yer  lazy,  no  count  boy ! "  The  voice  was 
unmistakably  Carol's  down  in  the  pine  grove  at 
the  foot  of  the  hill.  "  Warn't  yer  tole  to  hunt 
squirrel,  an'  here  yer  be  sleepin'.  She'll  scold 

"  Missy  Beth  won't  scole  me.  I  jes'  couldn't 
cotch  dat  squirrel  no-away.  De  fastah  I  flew 
aftah  it,  de  fastah  flew  Mr.  Squirrel.  I  got  awful 
tired,  clean  tuckered  out,  an'  I  was  goin'  to  tole 
missy  so,  but " 

"  Gustus,  come  here  to  me,"  called  Beth. 

"  Thar,  what  I  done  tole  yer  ?  Yer  goin'  to 
cotch  hit." 

Beth  was  surprised  that  she  could  hear  every 
word  so  distinctly  considering  the  distance. 

"  Gustus,  hurry,"  she  called  presently. 

At  the  same  moment  her  mother  appeared 
through  the  open  French  window.  "We  must 
get  you  in,  Beth.  I  hastened  home  when  I  saw 
the  storm  coming." 


Rueur  Returns  Riderless 

Once  in  her  own  room,  the  storm  fully  oc- 
cupied Beth's  mind.  Ev^en  after  it  grew  very 
dark,  she  would  not  have  a  lamp  lighted.  The 
shades  to  the  French  windows  were  up  and  the 
awful  wind  that  had  come  with  the  storm  dashed 
the  torrent  of  rain  against  the  glass,  blurring  it 
except  when  the  lightning  overcame  the  dark- 
ness momentarily. 

Built  as  the  house  was  on  the  side  of  the  hill, 
without  a  cellar,  the  wind  had  full  sweep  in  the 
wing  of  the  house  where  Beth  was  and  the  room 
shook  and  swayed  to  such  an  extent  that  Beth 
was  somewhat  nervous  on  her  own  account. 

"  It's  like  a  cradle,"  she  thought,  as  she  sat 
propped  up  in  bed.  "  I  didn't  know  a  house 
could  shake  so.     Suppose  it  tumbled  over." 

A  sudden  flash  of  light  made  her  forget  her 
own  fear  in  anxiety  for  the  wanderers. 

"  What  can  have  happened  ?  They'll  be 
awfully  frightened  and  wet.  Perhaps  they've 
stopped  somewhere.     That's  it." 

Comforted  somewhat  by  this  hope,  Beth  again 
thought  over  her  meeting  with  Carol. 

"  It  turned  out  true  about  the   wildcat,  and 

92  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

maybe  she's  really  to  have  money.  *  More'n  yer 
have.'     That's  just  v^hat  she  said.     If " 

The  door  leading  into  the  hall  was  hastily 
swung  open,  and  Gustus  burst  into  the  room. 

"  Missy  Beth,  what  yo'  think  ?  " 

Her  heart  beat  excitedly.  "  Have  they  come, 
Gustus  ?  "  she  asked. 

"  Does  yo'  'specs,  Missy  Beth,  dat " 

"  Gustus,  tell  me.     Have  they  come  ?  " 

"]S"o  'deed,  Missy  Beth.  What  done  make 
yo'  think  dat  ?  But  yo'  squirrel  done  come 

She  was  less  pleased  over  the  news  than  she 
would  have  been  under  ordinary  circumstances, 
and  her  lack  of  enthusiasm  disappointed  Gustus. 
He  eyed  her  reproachfully. 

"  Ain't  I  to  earn  dat  quartah,  'cause  I  wuz  de 
fust  to  see  Mr.  Squirrel  ?  I  cotched  him  after 

"I  suppose  you  put  salt  on  its  tail.  No? 
Well  how  did  you  catch  it  ?  " 

He  stood  first  on  one  foot  and  then  on  the 
other,  contriving  how  he  might  get  the  money. 
"  I  really  cotched  it.  Missy  Beth,  an'  yo'  said  if 
I  did  dat  I  wuz  to  have  a  quartah.     I  needs  dat 

money "     Conscience  suddenly  got  the  better 

of  his  greed.  *'  Mr.  Squirrel  must  'ave  known  it 
too,  or  why  should  he  'ave  come  into  de  dinin' 
room  jes'  at  supper  time,  an'  hop  up  on  his  little 
hind  feet  an'  beg  ?     I  fooled  him,  though  'bout 

Ruear  Returns  Riderless  93 

me  bein'  black.  I  cracked  some  nuts  fer  'im,  an' 
Avhile  Mr.  Squirrel  wuz  gobblin'  dem  up,  I 
grabbed  'im.  Yo'  see  de  nuts  'stracted  his  'ten- 
tion  from  me.  Don't  yo'  reckon  I  earned  dat 
quartah  ?  " 

He  looked  so  very  wistful  that  Beth  could  not 
resist.     ^'  I'll  get  papa  to  give  it  to  you." 

Around  the  mom  he  danced  in  high  delight. 

"  Golly,  but  I'm  happy.  Heaps  of  good  things 
happenin'.  When  we  went  to  de  woods  early 
dis  mornin',  me  an'  Duke  treed  a  possum.  I'm 
dat  happy " 

Suddenly  a  flash  of  lightning  and  the  crash 
that  quickly  followed  frightened  all  the  delight 
out  of  him.  Midway  in  the  room  he  halted, 
shaking  until  even  his  teeth  chattered. 

"Ow  !  ow  !  Missy  Beth.  I— I  didn't  tole  yo' 
a  lie  ?  I — I  let  yo'  know  dat  Mr.  Squirrel  gave 
hisself  up,  didn't  I  ?  I  don't  wants  to  be  killed 
by  the  lightnin'.  It  wuz  so  ter'ble,  it  might 
strike  one  dead." 

"  And  they're  out  in  it,"  murmured  Beth. 

"  Yo'  don't  reckon  it  killed  um,  do  yo'  ?  " 

"  Gustus,  don't  be  silly." 

Her  tone  was  so  sharp  that  it  made  Gustus 
shiver  anew.  **  Xo,  I  won't.  Missy  Beth,  dough 
I'se  ter'ble  scared." 

The  fire  w^as  dying  down  and  the  room  was 
growing  cold. 

"  Bring  in  some  logs,  Gustus.     We  must  have 

94  -A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

the  room  nice  and  warm  for  them  when  thej  re- 

But  even  after  the  fire  blazed  up,  Beth  was 
but  little  comforted. 

"  You  keep  a  good  watch,  Gustus,  and  the 
minute  you  see  a  sign  of  them,  you  run  up  and 
tell  me." 

After  he  had  gone,  she  was  almost  sorry  she 
had  sent  him.  She  would  have  rung  the  bell  for 
some  one  but  supposed  that  supper  was  being 
served.  In  this,  she  was  mistaken.  Her  parents 
were  too  anxious  to  eat,  and  stayed  away  from 
her  that  she  might  not  question  them. 

All  alone,  Beth  was  more  and  more  terrified 
by  the  violence  of  the  wind.  In  fact  it  was  in- 
creasing in  velocity  momentarily.  So  distressed 
was  she  by  its  howling  that  she  drew  the  bed- 
clothes over  her  head  to  shut  out  the  sound  if 
she  could  ;  but  she  found  no  relief  thus.  Unable 
to  stand  the  suspense  alone  another  moment,  she 
reached  out  and  struck  the  bell  by  her  bedside. 

Her  father  answered  the  call. 

"  Oh,  papa,"  she  half  sobbed,  "  I'm  so  worried. 
The  wind  frightens  me.  Wouldn't  it  be  awful 
if  they're  out  in  it  ?  Do  you  suppose  they've  gone 
in  somewhere  ?  " 

"  I  hope  so,  dear." 

"  Papa,  what  was  that  ?  It  sounded  like 
Gustus    yelling." 

Mr.  Davenport,  too,  had  heard  the  same  sound 

Rueur  Returns  Riderless  95 

and  he  hurried  over  toward  the  window.  Bath's 
every  nerve  was  quivering,  and  the  crash  of 
thunder  that  came  at  that  moment  made  her 
think  that  perhaps  her  imagination  was  leading 
her  astray. 

As  the  thunder  subsided,  Mr.  Davenport  threw 
open  the  window  at  which  he  stood.  The  wind 
was  driving  the  rain  against  the  opposite  side  of 
the  house  so  that  only  the  sound  of  the  storm  en- 
tered through  the  open  window,  at  least  that  was 
all  Beth  heard  at  first ;  but  in  a  moment  another 
uproar  almost  made  her  heart  stop  beating. 
Again  she  was  sure  Gustus  was  yelling,  but  what 
was  even  more  terrifying  was  another  crying 
out,  so  very  peculiar  that  Beth  had  not  the  least 
idea  what  it  could  be. 

"  Oh,  papa,  what's  the  matter  ?  "  she  cried  as 
he  closed  the  window  and  turned  toward  the 
door.  "Did  you  hear  the  noise?  What  was 

He  paused  momentarily.  "  It's  probably  some 
of  Gustus's  tomfoolery.  Don't  worry,  Beth. 
I'll  find  out  all  about  it  in  a  moment." 

"  Be  sure  to  let  me  know,"  she  called  after 

She  felt  her  helplessness  more  than  ever  be- 
cause she  could  not  run  along  with  him.  To  lie 
still  and  wait  to  be  told  was  very  hard.  Although 
she  was  only  kept  in  suspense  a  few  moments, 
the  time  seemed  an  age  to  her. 

96  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Oh,  Missy  Beth  !  "  cried  Gustus,  rushing  into 
the  room. 

"  Have  they  come  ?  "  she  demanded,  raising 
herself  on  her  elbow. 

He  was  panting  and  only  gasped,  "  Oh,  Missy 
Beth— oh " 

His  manner  caused  a  clutching  at  her  heart. 
Something  terrible  had  happened  to  the  riders 
and  he  hated  to  tell.  Impatient  that  he  kept 
her  in  such  suspense,  she  still  dreaded  to  have 
him  speak. 

He  rolled  his  eyes  tragically.     "  De  awf ullest 

thing's  happened "     He  drew  a  deep  breath. 

He  was  intent  on  impressing  her  duly,  but  hardly 
realized  what  a  harrowing  effect  his  manner  and 
words  were  producing. 

"  They — they ?  "  She  was  almost  sob- 

"  Did  yo'  hear  dat  awful,  ter'ble  noise  ?  It 
made  de  cole  run  up  an'  down  my  back.  I  'lowed 
dat  Massa  Harve  an'  Miss  Marian  an'  Miss  Julie 
were  bein'  murdered." 

Speech  was  beyond  Beth,  but  she  shuddered. 
If  she  could  have  laid  hands  on  him  she  would 
have  shaken  the  truth  from  him  instead  of  letting 
him  torture  her. 

"  Dat's  jes'  de  way  I  felt,"  he  continued  ad- 
miringly.    ''  I  'lowed " 

This  was  too  much,  and  anger  gave  her  back 
the  use  of  her  voice. 

Rueur  Returns  Riderless  97 

"  I'll  not  listen  to  what  you  thought.  Tell  me 
this  instant  what  happened." 

He  looked  grieved.  "  Dat's  jes'  what  I'm  doin'. 
As  dem  chills  war  runnin'  up  an'  down  my  back, 
de  fright  got  in  my  mouth  an'  I  yelled.  Did  yo' 
hear  me  yell  ?  " 

Beth  knew  that  the  more  she  interrupted,  the 
longer  she  would  be  in  hearing  what  had  hap- 
pened. That  was  always  Gustus's  way  in  telling 
anything.  To  control  herself,  she  clasped  her 
hands  and  pressed  them  together  so  hard  that  it 
actually  hurt. 

"  Papa  heard  you,"  she  answered  faintly. 

"  Dat's  why  he  came  runnin'.  If  he  hadn't 
come,  I'd  nebber  dared  see  what  wuz  makin'  dat 
awful,  dreadful  noise."  His  tones  were  sepul- 

"  What  was  it  ?  "  She  was  so  harrowed  that 
she  was  on  the  point  of  giving  way  to  her  feel- 

"  What  yo'  reckon  it  wuz  ?  " 

"  How  should  I  know  ?  "  she  snapped.  Beth 
thouc^ht  that  now  he  must  tell  and  she  no  lono^er 
curbed  her  impatience.  '^  If  I  knew,  I  wouldn't 
be  questioning  you." 

"  Dat's  so,  Missy  Beth.  I  nebber  onct  thought 
ob  dat,"  he  chuckled  which  enraged  her  anew. 
"  How  should  yo'  know  'bout  dat  noise  when  yo' 
couldn't  guess  if  yo'  tried  all  night." 

"I'm  not  going  to  guess.     If  you  don't   tell 

98  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

this  minute,  I'll  have  mamma  send  you  back  to 
Jacksonville,"  her  voice  was  broken  now  by  sobs. 

"  Why,  Missy  Beth,  I  am  tellin'  yo',"  he  stam- 
mered. "A  hog,  a  monster  hog  made  all  dat 

"  A  hog  ?  "  she  repeated,  hardly  believing  what 
she  heard.  "  And  it  had  nothing  to  do  about  the 
riders  at  all  ?  " 

"Ob  course  not.  Didn't  yo'  know  dat  all 
'long  ?  " 

"  Oh,  Gustus,  what  a  scare  you  gave  me." 
Beth  sank  back  on  the  pillow  greatly  relieved 
although  still  angry. 

"  I  done  give  myself  an  awful  scare.  Missy 
Beth,"  he  answered  in  a  sympathetic  tone  as  if 
he  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  state  of  her  feel- 
ings. All  at  once  he  burst  forth  into  a  hearty, 
contagious  laugh.  Angry  as  Beth  was  she  almost 
had  to  smile.  Then  it  came  to  her  that  perhaps 
he  was  making  fun  of  her. 

"  I  don't  see  anything  to  laugh  at,"  she  said  in 
her  most  dignified  manner. 

"  Ha  ha,  ho  ho.  Missy  Beth,  yo'  didn't  see  dat 
hog  or  yo'd  laugh  too."  He  suddenly  sobered. 
"  But  it  et  up  ebbery  one  ob  our  chickens  dat 
we  had  cooped  up  to  eat  oursels." 

"  Ate  up  our  chickens  ?  Hogs  don't  eat  chickens." 

"  Dis  Mr.  Hog  did.  He  got  right  into  de  coop 
wid  dem  an'  gobbled  up  ebbery  one.  Den  piggy 
hog  wanted  to  go,  but  he  stuck." 

Rueur  Returns  Riderless  99 

The  ludicrousness  of  the  situation  again  struck 
him.  He  laughed  so  heartily  that  the  tears 
trickled  down  his  cheeks,  and  he  doubled  over 
with  his  hands  on  his  sides. 

"  Oh,  oh.  Missy  Beth,"  he  half  sobbed,  "  yo'— 
oh,  oh — nebber  sawed  anythin'  half  so  funny. 
It  wriggled,  an'  wriggled,  ah,  ah,  but  it  couldn't 
budge,  an'  then  it  squealed  an'  squealed,  jes'  dis- 
away."  He  grunted  in  such  perfect  imitation 
that  Beth  just  had  to  laugh. 

"  Ho,  ho,"  he  roared  much  easier  in  mind  now 
that  she  was  no  longer  stern.  "  Mr.  Hog's  still 
stickin'  in  de  coop.  Don't  yo'  hear  him  squealin'  ? 
I  do.  Serve  yo'  right,  Mr.  Hog."  So  great  was 
his  glee  that  he  could  hardly  keep  from  dancing. 

Mrs.  Davenport  entered  with  a  tray.  "  We 
almost  forgot  your  supper,  Beth,"  she  said. 

"I  can't  eat.     I'm " 

"  Yes  you  can,  dear.  You  mustn't  worry. 
They'll  come  home  all  right."  She  arranged 
Beth's  supper  on  the  pillow  in  front  of  her  and 
started  to  light  the  lamp. 

*'  I  don't  want  a  light,  mamma.  The  fire  makes 
it  bright  enough." 

*'  Yery  well,  dear.  Gustus,  you  can  stay  to 
wait  on  her  if  she  wants  anything  else." 

He  was  very  much  delighted  that  he  was  not  to 
be  banished.  After  Mrs.  Davenport  left,  he 
skipped  over  by  the  fire,  and  sat  down  on  the 
hearth  with  his  back  to  the  flames.     At  the  same 

100         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

moment  an  extra  heavy  gust  of  wind  shook  the 
house  to  its  very  foundations. 

"0\v,"  howled  Gustus,  jumping  up  and  run- 
ning back  to  the  bedside.  "  When  de  wind  shrieks 
dataway,  Missy  Beth,  it  means  dat  somethin' 
ter'ble  '11  happen.     I'm  awful  scared." 

"  Don't  whisper  that  way,  Gustus.  You're 
worse  than  the  wind." 

"  Does  yo'  believe  in  signs  ?  "  he  asked  as  he 
dropped  into  the  chair  nearest  her  while  nodding 
his  head  impressively.  "  I've  been  studyin'  'bout 
it  an'  it  peers  like  to  me  dat  it's  very  bad  to  hav' 
a  squirrel  come  back  like  yo's  did.  Rabbits  are 
bad  luck  an'  I  reckon  squirrels  am  too.  An'  dat 
hog,  also,  may  mean  some  thin'  very  bad." 

"  Oh,  you're  silly  now,"  but,  though  she  ap- 
peared contemptuous,  her  power  to  eat  was  being 
taken  away  entirely  by  his  doleful  manner^ 

"  I  ain't  silly.  Missy  Beth.  Signs  nebber  laTl. 
Ow,"  he  howled  again  in  unison  with  the  wind. 
"  Jes'  listen  to  dat  now.  All  de  people  who  have 
been  killed  on  nights  like  dis  am  let  loose  an' 
dey  howl  to  let  us  know  how  fearful  it  am  to  be 
out  dis  night.  I  wouldn't  be  out  dar  fer  all  de 

"  Hush,  Gustus,  hush."  She  was  thinking  of 
the  riders. 

-,  *'  Ghosts  chase  people  on  sech  nights."  His 
voice  was  again  sepulchral.  "  Dey  come  gallopin' 
down  de  mountains  on  wind  horses — hear  dem 

Rueur  Returns  Riderless  loi 

now — ow,  o\v,  ow,  dey  shriek,  an'  clutch  folks, 
an'  take  dem  off  foreber.  Supposin'  dey  cotch 
our  folks  ?    Whatebber  would  we  do  ?  " 

"  Nonsense.  I'm  not  afraid  of  ghosts,  but  I  do 
hope  they're  not  in  this  awful  storm.  That's 
what  scares  me.'* 

"  Yo'  ain't  eatin'  nothin',"  interrupted  Gustus, 
eyeing  enviously  the  tray  with  all  its  dainties. 

*'  I  can't  eat.     You  can  have  everything  here." 

His  eyes  fairly  bulged  out  in  his  pleasure.  He 
grasped  the  tray  hastily  as  if  fearful  she  might 
repent,  and  set  to  work  with  unimpaired  appetite 
to  devour  his  unexpected  feast.  In  his  greed  he 
even  forgot  his  fear.  His  mournfulness  all  de- 
parted, but  the  effects  of  it  still  remained  with 
Beth.  It  seemed  an  interminable  titne  until  her 
father  and  mother  came  upstairs.  Every  mo- 
ment made  them  more  and  more  anxious,  but  for 
Beth's  sake  they  tried  to  appear  cheerful. 

"  Oh,  is  there  nothing  we  can  do  ? "  cried 

"  We  don't  even  know  where  they  were  going." 

They  talked  awhile  of  other  matters,  but  their 
thoughts  dwelt  with  the  wanderers. 

"  What  time  is  it  ?  "  asked  Beth. 

"  Eight  o'clock." 

"  Only  eight  ?  I  thought  it  must  be  about 

Half  an  hour  later  there  was  a  timid  knock  at 
the  door,  and  Beth  was  greatly  surprised  to  see 

102         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Carol  enter  the  room.  She  was  dripping  wet 
and  looked  as  if  she  had  been  out  in  the  worst  of 
the  storm.  She  was  without  hat  or  wrap  and 
her  teeth  chattered  from  cold. 

"  Why,  Carol !  "  exclaimed  Beth. 

If  Beth  had  been  alone,  Carol  would  have 
spoken  immediately,  so  important  was  the  news 
she  had  to  tell,  but,  at  sight  of  the  others,  speech 
failed  her,  so  that  she  stood  stupidly  twisting 
her  hands  with  her  eyes  lowered. 

"Carol,  what  brought  you  out  in  such  a 
storm  ?  "  questioned  Beth. 

Tears  rose  in  Carol's  eyes,  and  she  found  cour- 
age to  sidle  nearer. 

"  The  folks  that  rode  ?  "  she  gasped.  "  Hav' 
they  come  ?  " 

"Ko,  no.  You've  something  to  tell  about 
them  ?  " 

Carol  nodded  her  head.  Then  she  blurted  out : 
"  One  of  um  is  hurted  then  or  killed  like  I  feared." 

Beth  sprang  up  in  bed  unmindful  of  weakness. 

"  What  makes  you  say  that  ?  "  demanded  Mr. 
Davenport  grasping  Carol  by  the  shoulders. 

She  gulped  down  a  sob.  "  I — I  rode  all  the 
ways  from  Landrums  to  tell  yer." 

"Yes,  yes.     Go  on." 

"My  paw's  the  man  what  got  the  mule  fer 
you  uns  from  a  man  at  Landrums.     I " 

"  Has  this  anything  to  do  with  our  children  ?  " 

She  glanced  shyly  up  at  him  and  nodded  her 

Raear  Returns  Riderless  103 

head.     "  I  wuz  down  spendin'  er  night  with  that 

man's  gal.     An' "     Again  her  voice   failed 


"  Do  go  on,  Carol,"  implored  Beth. 

"  Mebbe  hit's  not  as  bad  as  hit  seems.  I  hates 
to  hurt  yer,"  sobbed  Carol.  "  But  hit's  got  to  be 
tole,  hasn't  hit  ?  "  She  looked  up  pleadingly  at 
Mr.  Davenport.  Kot  waiting  for  an  answer  she 
continued  brokenly : 

"  'Bout  half  an  hour  or  so  ago,  they  found  yer 
mule  with  hit's  bridle  all  broken,  an'  no  one  in 
the  saddle.  The  man  wouldn't  come  to  tole  yer, 
so  I  come." 

Her  bravery  in  riding  through  dark  and  storm 
to  bring  the  news  was  overlooked  because  of 
their  anxiety. 

"  Harvey's  killed,"  sobbed  Beth. 

"  I'm  going  to  Landrums.  I  must  get  trace  of 
the  children,"  said  Mr.  Davenport. 

"  If  yer  want  the  mule,  he's  hitched  'round  by 
the  kitchen." 

To  save  time,  he  decided  to  ride  the  mule. 

Once  in  the  saddle,  Mr.  Davenport  urged 
Eueur  into  a  gallop,  and  so  persistently  per- 
suaded him  onward,  that  tired  as  the  mule  was, 
he  was  compelled  to  travel  swiftly  over  the  slip- 
pery clay  and  the  sure-footed  little  beast  never 
stumbled  nor  halted. 

The  storm  was  lifting,  but  Mr.  Davenport  had 
little  thought  for  the  state  of  the  weather. 

The  Deserted  Cabin 

And  now  to  tell  what  had  befallen  the  riders 
earlier  in  the  day. 

The  spurs  had  such  a  good  effect  on  the  mule 
that  the  animals  traveled  peaceably  for  a  mile  or 
two  at  a  moderate  pace ;  but  the  youthful  blood 
of  the  riders,  and  the  bracing  air  made  them  im- 
patient of  such  quiet  sport. 

"Let's  pretend  we're  Indians,"  proposed 
Harvey  with  a  whoop  that  slightly  startled  the 

Julia,  too,  had  been  pondering  what  she  could 
propose  for  excitement  and  quickly  seconded  his 

"  Or  how  would  it  do  to  be  cowboys  and  ride 
like  they  do  in  the  Wild  West  shows  ?  Oh,  and 
we  could  be  chased  by  Indians ! "  exclaimed 

"  That  would  be  sport.  Come  on,"  and  Harvey, 
digging  the  spurs  into  Rueur,  let  forth  another 
wild  whoop  that  set  the  hills  echoing. 

Even  quiet  Marian  entered  into  the  spirit  of 
the  play. 

"  Nobody  will  hear,"  she  thought  and  up  she 

io8         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

rose  in  her  stirrup,  waving  lier  whip  and  whoop- 
ing with  Harvey. 

Julia,  not  to  be  outdone,  yelled  wildly,  giving 
her  horse  free  rein. 

How  their  blood  tingled  as  along  the  winding 
road  flew  the  mule  closely  followed  by  the  horses. 
Instinctively  the  animals  kept  to  the  bank  at  the 
right  where  glossy  bushes  of  rhododendrons  and 
laurels  grew  in  wild  confusion  for,  at  the  left, 
there  was  a  descent  leading  to  a  babbling  stream 
which  gurgled  over  the  rocks  and  flowed  merrily 
down  into  the  valley. 

"  Girls,  girls,  don't  stop  !  "  shouted  Harvey,  as 
the  road  led  them  down  to  where  they  must  ford 
the  stream.  "  For  your  life,  don't  stop.  I  saw 
the  Indians  springing  down  the  bank  just  back 
of  us.  It's  a  chase  of  life  and  death  now  !  Come 

Into  the  clear  stream  he  spurred  Eueur,  and  the 
girls  splashed  on  with  him.  Julia's  horse  stum- 
bled on  a  rock  and  almost  fell.  For  an  instant 
Harvey  pulled  in  rein. 

"  Are  you  all  right,   Julia  ?  " 

"  Yes,  only  some  of  the  water  got  on  me  and 
it's  pretty  cold ;  but  don't  stop  for  I  think  I  hear 
the  Indians  sneaking  up  in  back  of  us,"  and  un- 
daunted, she  flew  onward  with  her  companions 
at  a  wild  speed.  They  were  almost  as  much  ex- 
cited as  if  their  play  were  real. 

Within  a  very  short  time,  they  had  forded  the 

The  Deserted  Cabin  109 

brook  six  or  seven  times,  so  very  winding  was  the 

After  a  while  the  horses  tired  of  such  mad  rid- 
ing for  they  had  been  driven  up  and  down  hill 
without  any  let-up.  Their  breath  shortened ;  they 
were  soon  covered  Avith  lather,  and  the  girls 
felt  the  sides  of  the  animals  heaving  beneath 

"  I  don't  think  father  would  like  us  to  ride  so 
fast,"  suggested  Marian  timidly,  pulling  up 

"  Nonsense,"  cried  Harvey,  for  sturdy  Kueur 
showed  no  signs  of  fatigue.  "  Hurry,  they're 
gaining  on  us,"  he  added  in  a  sepulchral  tone. 

"  Oh,  I'm  so  frightened,"  cried  Julia  hyster- 

**  Hush,  Julia,  or  they'll  hear  you,"  cautioned 
Marian  giving  up  her  momentary  scruples  be- 
cause the  others  were  still  so  enthused  with  the 

"  They  might  track  us  by  the  footprints  in  the 
road.  We  ought  to  do  something  to  mislead 
them,"  proposed  Julia. 

Harvey  pondered  a  moment.  Just  ahead  the 
stream  had  to  be  crossed  again  which  was  an  in- 
spiration to  Harvey,  and  he  said,  "  Instead  of  fol- 
lowing the  road,  let's  go  up-stream  so  there'll  be 
no  tracks.  We're  sure  to  come  on  the  road 
higher  up." 

Once  more  Marian  was  inclined  to  object  to 

no         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

such  daredevil  play,  but  she  did  not  wish  always 
to  be  the  one  to  cast  a  damper  on  the  sport,  so  up- 
stream she  went  without  a  word,  and  at  first, 
splashing  through  the  water  proved  less  risky, 
and  more  fun  than  she  had  deemed  ;  but  the  horses 
did  not  enjoy  it  as  much  as  did  their  riders. 
Rueur  alone  trudged  stolidly  ahead. 

"  It's  getting  sticky,"  exclaimed  Julia  who  was 
now  in  the  lead  with  Harvey. 

"  That's  nothing.  All  water  beds  are  sticky 
sometimes,  I  reckon,  and  we'll  be  out  of  this  in 
a  minute,"  he  answered. 

Marian  did  not  agree  with  him,  but  still  offered 
no  objection.  She  whipped  her  horse  in  an  ef- 
fort to  keep  up  with  the  others,  while,  at  the 
same  time,  she  became  anxious  because  her 
horse's  feet  sank  deeper  and  deeper  with  every 
step.  Julia's  horse,  too,  dragged  its  feet  out  of 
the  mire  with  diflB.culty,  and  it  breathed  labo- 

Harvey  did  not  notice  how  bad  the  road  was 
because  the  mule  was  sturdier  than  the  horses. 
Then  he  was  still  pretending  that  the  Indians 
were  after  them  and  was  most  intent  on  escaping 
the  wild  men.  He  was  recalled  to  his  senses  by 
Marian  crying : 

"  We  must  get  out  of  this.  I  believe  it's  quick- 

As  she  spoke  she  turned  toward  shore  whip- 
ping her  horse  hard.     After  a  slight  struggle  the 

The  Deserted  Cabin  ill 

animal  was  enabled  to  draw  out  its  feet  so  that 
it  soon  gained  firm  footing.  Then  Marian  looked 
again  toward  her  friends. 

Her  warning  had  brought  them  both  to  a 
standstill,  and  Harvey  cried,  "  She's  right.  We 
must  get  out  of  this.  It  may  be  quicksand,"  and 
with  the  words  he  applied  the  spurs  which  caused 
Rueur  to  exert  his  great  strength,  so  that  soon 
Harvey  halted  beside  Marian  on  the  bank  of  the 
stream  beyond  the  quicksand. 

Meantime  Julia  tried  to  follow,  but  her  tired 
horse  refused  to  budge  and,  while  it  stood  still,  it 
was  sucked  deeper  and  deeper  into  the  miry 
surface  beneath. 

"Hit  him  as  hard  as  ever  you  can,"  yelled 

Julia  struck  the  quivering  horse  as  bid,  and 
though  she  whipped  hard  and  long,  it  either 
would  not  or  could  not  make  much  headway. 
When  Julia  saw  that  her  efforts  were  useless,  she 
let  go  of  the  reins  and  gathered  her  skirts  in  her 
right  hand. 

"  What  are  you  doing  ?  "  demanded  Harvey. 

*'  I'm  going  to  jump  off  and  wade  in."  Her 
foot  was  already  out  of  the  stirrup. 

"Stop,  Julia.  You  mustn't.  You  might  be 
swallowed  up  in  the  quicksand.  I'll  come  out 
and  help  you."  With  this,  Harvey  started  Rueur 
toward  the  quicksand,  but  the  mule  balked  within 
a  few  feet  of  the  bemired  horse.     Harvey,  how- 

112         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

ever,  now  knew  the  spurs  to  be  a  sure  cure  for 
stubbornness  with  Rueur.  One  dig  into  the 
balky  mule's  side  was  sufficient  to  land  him  be- 
side the  panting  horse. 

"Julia,  can  you  jump  over  here  with  me?  I 
think  Rueur  will  take  us  both  to  shore." 

Almost  before  he  had  finished,  agile  Julia  was 
over  on  Rueur  just  behind  Harvey. 

"Wait,"  she  cried  as  he  was  about  to  turn 
shoreward.  With  the  word  she  leaned  far  over 
and  gave  her  own  horse  the  hardest  cut  with  a 
whip  it  had  ever  known  which  so  surprised  the 
animal  that  it  succeeded  in  lifting  first  one  foot 
and  then  another. 

Rueur  needed  no  encouragement  to  struggle 
shoreward.  The  sturdy  little  animal,  notwith- 
standing the  extra  weight,  plowed  bravely  through 
the  quicksand,  while  the  horse  with  every  muscle 
at  great  tension,  followed. 

"  I  wonder  what  would  have  happened  if  you 
hadn't  come  for  me,"  said  Julia  as  Harvey  drew 
rein  beside  Marian. 

"  You'd  have  gotten  out  all  right,"  he  answered 
partly  to  make  light  of  his  own  help  and  partly 
because  he  believed  what  he  said.  "  You'd  have 
gotten  scared  and  whipped  hard  like  you  did  at 

"  Suppose  Julia's  horse  will  not  let  us  catch  it. 
Do  you  think  it  will  follow  us  home?"  asked 
Marian,  looking  toward  the  animal  which  had 

The  Deserted  Cabin  1 13 

paused  to  graze  on  the  edge  of  the  bank  not  far 
from  them. 

"  jSTot  much  danger  but  what  we  can  catch  it 
all  right.  It's  too  tired  to  run  from  us,"  said 
Harvey  and  so  it  proved. 

Marian  looked  doubtfully  along  the  edge  of  the 
stream  as  Julia  was  changing  to  her  own  saddle. 

"  I  don't  know  what  we'd  better  do,"  she  said, 
when  they  were  once  more  ready  to  start.  "  The 
bushes  hang  down  so  low  that  we  might  get  in 
the  quicksand  again  if  we  try  to  go  back  to  the 

"  We'll  try  it  through  the  bushes  then,"  said 
Harvey,  heading  Eueur  up  the  bank.  The  girls 
willingly  followed.  Even  Julia  was  somewhat 
subdued.  She  would  have  enjoyed  beaten  tracks 
at  least  for  awhile. 

"  If  we  go  straight  ahead  we're  almost  sure  to 
strike  the  road  because  it  makes  so  very  many 
turns,"  continued  Harvey. 

"I'd  hate  to  go  a  long  way  through  this 

The  undergrowth  was  so  dense  that  both  girls 
had  to  draw  their  skirts  close  around  them,  and 
the  horses  snorted  anew  because  of  the  untrodden 
paths  over  which  they  were  being  taken.  Rueur 
again  proved  the  leader,  instinctively  picking 
out  the  best  way.  By  force  of  his  example,  the 
horses  also  were  encouraged  to  make  slow  head- 

114         -^  -Marc/  of  the  Mountains 

"  Here's  a  road,"  cried  Harvey.  "  It  seems  to 
go  in  the  direction  of  home,  so  I  think  we'd 
better  return,  as  Beth  will  be  getting  lonely." 

The  girls  agreed,  so  they  headed  in  the  direc- 
tion in  which  they  thought  Tremont  lay. 

**  Beth  will  be  proud  of  Eueur  when  we  tell 
her  how  well  he  has  behaved.  I'd  rather  own 
him  than  either  of  the  horses,"  said  Harvey, 
patting  the  mule  which  looked  around  in  mild 

"  He  doesn't  know  what  to  make  of  my  pet- 
ting him  after  the  way  I  dug  the  spurs  into  him, 
but  I  reckon  it  didn't  hurt  much,  and  it  got  him 
out  of  the  quicksand  in  a  hurry." 

"  Was  it  real  bad  quicksand  like  you  hear 
about,  Harve  ?  " 

"  I  reckon  it  wasn't  the  worst  kind." 

"  Well  it  was  bad  enough  anyway."  Julia  shud- 
dered slightly  as  she  remembered  the  disagreea- 
ble sensation  of  feeling  her  horse  sink. 

"  Let's  take  another  run,"  proposed  Harvey 
when  he  noticed  that  Julia's  horse  had  regained 

Again  along  the  winding  road  they  cantered, 
but  not  at  the  breakneck  speed  they  had  ridden 
earlier  in  the  day.  However,  even  at  a  slower 
gallop,  they  covered  much  ground  before  Marian 
pulled  up  her  horse  suddenly. 

"  This  isn't  the  road  we  came." 

"  The  woods  look  the  same,"  announced  Julia, 

The  Deserted  Cabin  115 

who  had  not  been  noticing  her  surroundings  until 
her  attention  was  called  to  them. 

"  We  haven't  crossed  the  brook  hardly  any." 

"  I  noticed  that,"  admitted  Harvey.  "  But  I 
wouldn't  say  anything  for  I  reckon  all  roads 
lead  to  Tremont  like  Boman  roads." 

"  I'm  not  so  sure  about  that,"  interrupted 
Marian  doubtfully.  "  I've  found  these  mountain 
roads  mighty  queer.  You  start  off  all  right 
seemingly  and  the  first  thing  you  know  you're  a 
great  distance  out  of  the  way." 

"  Maybe  we'd  better  go  back  then." 

*'  But  we'd  not  be  sure  of  finding  the  right 
road,  and,  even  if  w^e  did,  it  would  make  us  xerj 
late  getting  home.  Let's  hurry,  and  maybe  we'll 
come  to  a  mountain  hut  where  some  one  will  tell 
us  how  to  go." 

Once  more  they  urged  their  steeds  to  a  good 
pace.  All  were  getting  anxious  although  they 
did  not  like  to  admit  that  such  was  the  case. 

"  One  couldn't  be  badly  lost  hereabouts,"  de- 
clared Harvey  to  reassure  his  companions. 

*'  I  haven't  seen  one  familiar  landmark,"  said 
Marian.  "  It  will  make  us  late  home  so  that 
they  may  worry.     Otherwise  I  don't  mind." 

"  It's  not  so  very  late.  It's  just  cloudy,  I 
believe.  If  they  don't  worry,  I  think  it  rather 
fun  to  be  reallv,  trulv  lost.  I  never  was  before," 
added  adventurous  Julia. 

"  I  wish  these  woods  didn't  close  in  around  us, 

1 16         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

for  then  we  could  see  the  mountains  which 
would  show  if  we  are  still  going  in  the  right 
direction.  Let's  ride  a  little  faster  and  maybe 
we'll  come  to  an  open  space,"  said  quiet  Marian. 

For  fully  a  quarter  of  an  hour  they  rode  along 
without  catching  a  glimpse  of  the  mountains, 
and  without  seeing  the  least  sign  of  human  life. 
Then  they  came  to  an  opening.  But  the  clouds 
hung  low  over  the  mountains  while  the  sky  had 
grown  so  dark  that  they  could  tell  little  of  their 
whereabouts.  More  than  ever  their  hearts  sank. 
They  had  to  acknowledge  that  they  were  really 

"  I  never  saw  the  mountains  so  covered  with 
clouds.  An  awful  storm  is  coming.  What  shall 
we  do  ?  "  cried  Marian  glancing  apprehensively  at 
the  storm  signals  to  the  left  of  her. 

"  We  can  only  ride  on  now,  I  suppose.  Luck 
may  be  with  us." 

Darker  and  darker  grew  the  sky  as  nearer  and 
nearer  came  the  storm.  The  children  became 
more  dispirited  with  the  lowering  of  the  clouds, 
and  even  the  animals  were  growing  restive 
although  they  were  decidedly  fagged  out. 

"It's  darker  than  after  sunset.  They'll  be 
dreadfully  scared,"  said  Marian. 

"  Here's  a  road  to  the  right.  Suppose  we  try 
it,"  cried  Harvey. 

All  decided  that  to  the  right  might  be  Tre- 
mont  and  so  turned  to  the  new  road.     For  a  few 

The  Deserted  Cabin  117 

moments  the  change  made  them  hopeful,  but  this 
feeling  lasted  a  very  short  while,  for,  beside  the 
darkness,  there  were  flashes  of  lightning  and 
angry  rumblings,  and  the  road  itself  grew  narrow 
and  rocky.  The  lightning  cast  weird  shadows 
across  the  rutted  road. 

"  We're  really  lost,  and  it  isn't  a  bit  of  fun 
like  I  said,"  thought  Julia.  In  fact  for  children 
to  be  lost  in  a  mountainous  country  with  no 
human  habitation  visible  proved  so  terrifying 
that  she  felt  like  giving  way  to  tears,  but,  being 
brave-hearted,  she  suppressed  them. 

Suddenly,  a  blinding  flash  followed  by  a  roar 
made  the  horses  start  and  snort.  Every  nerve 
of  their  high  strung  being  was  a  quiver.  Rueur, 
alone,  was  unmoved.  He  picked  his  way  stolidly 
along  the  rough  trail  and  his  coolness  somewhat 
calmed  the  horses. 

Another  flash  quickly  followed,  so  vivid  that 
the  children  took  advantage  of  the  light  to  look 
around,  but  what  they  saw  only  made  them  more 
nervous.  The  rocks  on  the  hill  to  the  side  of 
them  appeared  as  monstrous  giants  ready  to  roll 
down  and  crush  them  to  atoms.  The  ruts  in  the 
path  seemed  even  worse  than  they  had  thought, 
but  still  more  discouraging  was  the  discovery 
that  the  road  narrowed  into  a  trail  leading 
through  gloomy  pine  woods. 

"  Let's  turn  back,"  proposed  Marian. 

"  No.     We'd  better  get  under  the  trees,"  an- 

ii8         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

swered  Harvey  who  was  the  only  one  to  appre- 
ciate the  shelter  they  would  afford  when  the 
floods  descended,  as  he  expected  any  instant. 

"  I've  heard  there  is  greater  danger  of  being 
struck  by  lightning  in  the  woods.     And " 

"  Yes,  but  when  the  rain  comes,  your  horses 
would  be  sure  to  slip  in  the  clay  and  dark. 
Kueur  might  manage  to  keep  up.  How  would  it 
do  for  you  girls  to  wait  under  a  big  tree  while  I 
ride  on " 

"  What,  and  leave  us.     'Not  much.     I " 

Again  the  sky  was  illumined. 

"  I  see  a  house,"  interrupted  Julia  joyfully. 

Neither  of  the  others  had  been  so  quick  of 
vision  as  she,  which  made  them  fear  that  her 
imagination  was  playing  her  false.  However, 
they  rode  on  waiting  breathlessly  for  another 
flash  to  verify  her  words  or  else  to  show  them 
that  they  must  buffet  the  storm  unsheltered 
except  by  trees. 

"  She's  right,  she's  right  I "  cried  Harvey. 
"  There  are  a  number  of  houses." 

The  expected  flash  had  revealed  to  the  girls 
also  a  little  settlement  of  huts  clustered  near 
each  other  in  a  cleared  space.  None  were  more 
than  a  story  high  and  were  evidently  hastily 
constructed  out  of  pine  logs. 

Joyfully  they  rode  toward  the  first  cabin 
where  Harvey  jumped  to  the  ground.  He 
handed  his  reins  to  Marian  that  Rueur  might  not 

The  Deserted  Cabin  119 

run  away,  and  walked  quickly  up  to  the  door 
and  knocked.  Receiving  no  response,  he  knocked 
more  vigorously,  but  still  no  one  came.  The 
third  time  he  literally  pounded  on  the  door  so 
eager  was  he. 

"  They  must  be  over  at  a  neighbor's,"  called 
Marian.  "  I'll  lead  Rueur  to  the  next  house. 
Some  one  will  surely  be  home  there." 

On  to  the  second  house  they  hurried,  for  the 
rain  was  beginning  to  fall  in  enormous  drops. 
Again  Harvey  pounded  and  pounded,  but  all  his 
efforts  proved  useless.  Not  a  soul  appeared  to 
be  in  the  cabin.  Impatient  of  the  delay  he 
rushed  on  to  a  third  door,  but  there  met  with  no 
better  success.  After  trying  three  or  four  more 
houses,  all  with  like  result,  they  all  three  were 
not  only  puzzled,  but  were  fast  being  soaked,  for 
the  rain  was  growing  worse  and  worse  every 

^'  I'll  try  one  more  place,  and  if  no  one  answers, 
we'll  break  in  if  we  can.  You  girls  must  get 
out  of  the  wet.  I  never  knew  of  anything  so 
very  queer,"  he  called  as  he  ran  on  to  another 

"  I  reckon  they're  all  dead,"  he  muttered  as 
still  no  one  opened  for  them.  Harvey  turned  to 
try  the  window  at  his  right  when  suddenly  he 
heard  a  moving  within.  He  waited  thinking  that 
at  last  he  had  roused  the  occupants  of  the  place. 
But  when  the  door  did  not  open,  he  again  struck 

1 20         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

it  with  all  his  might,  assured  that  he  had  really 
heard  some  one  moving. 

Once  more  the  same  mysterious  movement 
began,  but  still  the  door  remained  unopened. 
This  was  too  much  for  Harvey's  temper  and  he 
was  bound  to  solve  the  mystery.  He  made  such 
a  racket  that  Marian  cried : 

"  Why  not  give  up " 

"  Give  up,"  he  repeated  scornfully.  "  There's 
some  one  in  there  sure,  and  I'll  just  make  them 
come,  even  if  my  knuckles  are  getting  sore." 

"  I'll  come  and  pound  too,"  cried  Julia,  slip- 
ping from  her  horse.  She  tied  it  to  a  tree  and 
joined  Harvey.  Marian,  likewise,  jumped  to 
the  ground,  and  fastened  Eueur  and  her  horse 
to  trees. 

"  Perhaps  everybody's  dead  of  some  plague. 
It  makes  me  creepy  all  over  not  to  have  any 
answer,"  she  said  in  a  half  whisper  to  her  com- 
panions who  were  now  both  pounding  as  hard 
as  they  could. 

"  There's  some  one  or  something  still  living. 
Julia  and  I  both  heard  a  sound  within.  Listen, 
and  you'll  hear  it  too."      They  ceased  rapping. 

"  You  dreamed  you  heard  a  noise.  There's 
not  a  sound,"  Marian  answered  skeptically,  after 
holding  her  ear  to  the  keyhole. 

"  There's  nothing  now,  but  I  know  I  did  hear 
something.  Perhaps  the  person's  deaf  and  don't 
hear  us.     That's  it,  I  do  believe." 

The  Deserted  Cabin  121 

His  solution  seemed  so  feasible  that  they  won- 
dered at  not  thinking  of  it  before.  Besides  the 
downpour,  it  had  grown  suddenly  cold  and  they 
stood  shivering,  trying  to  fathom  how  they  could 
attract  the  attention  of  an  exceedingly  deaf 

"  We'll  have  to  break  in.  We  can  then  yell 
the  situation  at  the  owner,"  Harvey  said,  when 
he  could  devise  no  other  way.  He  walked  over 
and  tried  to  pry  the  window  at  the  right  open, 
but  it  would  not  yield.  Then  he  tried  the 
window  on  the  left. 

"  It's  giving  way,"  he  cried  joyfully.  "  Come 
on,  girls,  I'll  help  you  in." 

"  I  don't  need  help,"  and  Julia  proved  her 
words  by  clambering  through  the  now  open 
window  as  nimbly  as  a  squirrel  would.  She 
paused  just  inside. 

"  There's  not  a  bit  of  a  light  in  the  house,"  she 
whispered.  "  I  hear  the  noise  again.  Maybe  it's 
a  crazy  person,  I'm  scared.  They're  coming 
over  after  me,"  and  out  she  jumped  beside  the 

Even  Marian  heard  the  mysterious  movement 
now,  and  was  inclined  to  believe  that  the  inmate 
of  the  dark  room  might  be  a  crazy  person. 

"  Are  you  entirely  deaf  ?  Speak,"  demanded 
Harvey  not  realizing  that  their  own  position 
might  be  considered  peculiar. 

A  low  sound,  so  very  mysterious  that  it  seemed 

122         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

like  a  person  or  beast  in  distress,  answered  him 
and  the  three  at  the  window  drew  back  in  fright. 

"  I — I'd  rather  stay  out  in  the  storm,"  cried 

"  Let's  go,"  cried  Julia  ready  to  run. 

Perhaps  Harvey's  resolve  to  enter  the  mysteri- 
ous abode  would  have  been  shaken  had  not  a 
flash  of  lightning  revealed  a  crouching  figure  in 
the  room  very  near  the  window. 

"  It's — it's  a  bear,"  cried  Julia  her  nerves  still 

*'  Nonsense.  Come  on  in,"  and  Harvey  was 
within  the  room  before  the  girls  could  grasp  him 
to  hold  him  back. 

"  Harve,  come  back,"  cried  Marian. 

"Oh,  come  on  in.  You're  not  afraid  of  a  poor, 
starved  dog  ?  "  he  cried. 

"  A — a  dog  ?  "  she  repeated  h3^sterically. 

The  girls  would  hardly  believe  that  all  their 
fright  had  been  caused  by  such  a  poor,  innocent 
being  until  another  flash  of  light  revealed  an 
emaciated  dog  beside  Harvey.  Then  they  scram- 
bled into  the  room,  and  began  making  a  great 
fuss  over  the  starved  animal. 

"  You  dear  old  fellow — to  think  we  were 
afraid  of    you,"  cried   Julia. 

"  Do  you  reckon  he's  all  alone  here  ? "  whis- 
pered Marian  to  Harvey. 

Julia,  feeling  the  dog's  ribs  as  she  stroked  his 
side,  continued,  "Why  you've   been  starved.     I 

The  Deserted  Cabin  123 

wish  I  bad  some  food  for  you.  I'm  hungry  my 
self,  but  I'd  give  every  bite  to  you  if  I  had 
some.     It's  a  shame,  a  dreadful  shame." 

He  hardly  heeded  her,  but  whined  pitifully. 
Then  he  caught  at  Marian's  skirt  and  pulled  on 

"  He  wishes  us  to  go  with  him,"  she  said. 
"  I've  heard  of  dogs  acting  like  this  before.  I 
wonder  what  he  wants  to  tell  us." 

The  dog  whined  and  started  across  the  room. 
"When  they  did  not  follow,  he  returned  and 
pulled  again  at  Marian's  skirt. 

"  We  ought  to  see  what  he  wants,"  she  whis- 
pered, but  it  was  so  very  dark  that  she  held 
back  to  see  if  her  companions  would  go  too. 

"  I  suppose  we  ought  to  go,"  agreed  Harvey. 
Julia,  too,  thought  that  they  ought  to  follow  the 
dog.  Thus  fortified  by  numbers,  they  started 
across  the  room. 

In  the  darkness  of  the  storm,  they  could 
only  distinguish  imperfectly  their  surroundings. 
Harvey's  quick  eye  noted  a  fireplace.  Julia 
stumbled  over  something  that  proved  to  be  a 
home  manufactured  stool.  Marian  bruised  her 
shins  on  a  wooden  chair,  and  then  they  were  at  a 
door  which  was  open. 

"  Suppose  we  find  some  one  dead  in  there," 
whispered  Marian,  catching  hold  of  Julia  who 
shuddered  and  drew  back,  too.  The  dog  alone 
did  not  hesitate.     He  ran  into   the  room  and 

124         ^  ilfa/c/  of  the  Mountains 

whined  anew.  So  pitiful  and  so  persistent  was 
his  whining  that  it  seemed  to  the  girls  his  heart 
was  breaking. 

"  I — I  can't  bear  to  hear  him,"  and  Marian 
placed  her  fingers  in  her  ears. 

"  It  scares  me." 

"  Is  any  one  in  here  ?  "  demanded  Harvey. 

Only  the  dog's  moaning  answered  him. 

"  This  is  an  awful  place,"  sobbed  Marian. 
"  It's  worse  than  a  haunted  house.     Let's  go." 

At  this  moment  a  light  streamed  through  a 
side  window  making  every  object  in  the  room 
stand  out  in  bold  prominence.  Right  beside  the 
door  was  a  box  that  had  served  as  a  washstand, 
for  on  it  were  an  old  broken  pitcher,  a  tin  basin 
and  a  small  piece  of  soap.  The  only  other 
piece  of  furniture  was  an  old  tumble  down  cot 
over  in  the  far  corner  of  the  room.  The  dog 
stood  with  his  front  feet  on  the  edge  of  the  bed, 
and  had  turned  his  head  to  make  sure  the  chil- 
dren had  not  gone.  At  sight  of  them  he  whined 
even  more  pathetically,  but  they  hardly  dared 
look  his  way  for  fear  some  ghastly  spectacle 
might  meet  their  eyes.  And  yet  the  mystery  of 
the  place  drew  their  eyes  to  the  bed.  At  first 
an  old  sheet  and  blanket  on  the  cot  made  it  seem 
as  if  somebody  might  be  there.  While  still  un- 
certain what  ghastly  revelation  awaited  them, 
the  light  gave  out.  The  girls  with  their  hearts 
thumping  wildly,  and  Harvey  hardly  less  moved, 

The  Deserted  Cabin  125" 

awaited  breathlessly  another  illumination.  In  a 
few  seconds  their  suspense  was  relieved.  Except 
themselves,  no  living  person  was  in  the  room. 

"  He  doesn't  know  where  his  master  is  any 
more  than  we  do.  He's  asking  us  about  it," 
Marian  said  brokenly. 

"  It's  very  strange."  Harvey  was  trying  not 
to  appear  affected,  but  a  lump  would  rise  in  his 
throat.  "  There's  another  room  over  there,  I 
think.     Let's  see  what  we  can  find  in  there." 

The  girls  did  not  care  for  more  adventure,  but 
they  would  not  be  left  alone,  and  so  they  fol- 
lowed Harvey  into  the  back  room.  The  dog  ran 
after  them.  He  was  vastly  interested  in  their 
investigation.  Probably  he  hoped  their  intelli- 
gence might  fathom  a  mystery  which  had  baffled 

As  the  children  crossed  the  threshold  into  the 
third  and  last  room,  they  felt  an  unusually  cold 
blast  of  air,  and  a  creaking  sound  so  startled  the 
girls  that  they  cried  out  in  fright. 

"  Who's  here  ?  "  demanded  Harvey  in  a  very 
brave  voice,  but  his  own  heart  was  going  like  a 

The  creaking  sound  did  not  stop  although  he 
received  no  reply.  Combined  with  the  howling 
of  the  wind,  it  made  them  all  more  nervous. 

"  Let's  go.    This  house  is  worse  than  the  storm." 

"It's  strange  the  dog  don't  seem  to  mind," 
whispered  Julia. 

126         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Another  flash  of  light  made  all  their  spirits 
rise.  ^ 

"  Why,  the  door's  open.  That's  what  is  mak- 
ing the  noise,"  cried  Harvey. 

In  fact  the  kitchen  door  was  swinging  to  and 
fro  on  half  broken  hinges,  and  the  wind  was 
beating  in  the  rain  in  wild  torrents. 

Harvey  tried  to  close  the  door  fast,  but  there 
was  no  lock  or  bolt  to  keep  it  shut.  Finally  it 
came  to  him  that  he  had  seen  logs  on  the  hearth 
in  the  front  room,  and  he  went  for  one  and 
placed  it  against  the  door. 

"I  do  hope  nothing  more  can  happen.  I'd 
break  down  completely,  I  know.  I  do  wish  we 
were  home  around  the  open  fire.  I'm  dreadfully 
cold,"  murmured  Marian,  shivering  as  she  spoke. 

"  And  I'm  cold,"  added  Julia,  beginning  to 
realize  that  they  were  all  very  wet  and  miserable. 

"  You  shall  have  a  fire  in  a  few  minutes,  girls. 
I've  some  matches  in  my  pocket  and  there  were 
other  logs  on  the  hearth,"  answered  Harvey. 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth 

"It  isn^t  half  so  doleful  now,"  said  Marian, 
sinking  down  on  the  hearth  after  the  fire  was 
well  started. 

For  a  few  moments  they  enjoyed  the  heat  and 
light  from  the  fire  in  silence.  The  dog  alone  re- 
fused to  be  comforted.  He  wandered  around  dis- 
consolately, but  came  back  every  once  in  a  while 
to  attract  their  attention  by  whining. 

"  It's  because  he's  so  hungry,"  declared  Julia, 
judging  by  his  appearance  and  the  state  of  her 
own  feelings. 

"  It's  very  strange  about  him,"  said  Harvey. 
*'  With  the  door  open,  why  didn't  he  go  and  seek 
food  ?  " 

"  Perhaps  there's  less  myster}^  than  we're  mak- 
ing out."  Julia  was  always  quick  to  recover 
from  any  depression.  If  she  had  not  been  so 
hungry,  she  would  have  been  actually  cheerful 
now  that  she  had  been  warmed  by  the  blaze. 
"  Perhaps  the  people  around  here  are  all  off  at 
some  party  or  something,  and  were  caught  in  the 
rain  like  us." 

"  These  houses  don't  look  like  they  belonged  to 

130         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

people  who  go  to  afternoon  parties,"  answered 
Harvey.  "  And  even  if  tliey  did,  I  don't  believe 
everybody  would  go,  and  why  didn't  the  dog  fol- 
low when  he  had  the  chance  ?  It's  very  strange." 
He  noted  that  his  words  were  having  a  depress- 
ing effect,  and  added,  "  but  we're  very  comfor- 
table now  so  what's  the  use  of  bothering  our 
heads  ?  The  storm  will  let  up  presently  and 
away  we'll  go  all  right."  He  wondered,  however, 
how  they  would  be  able  to  find  their  way  home 
if  there  was  no  one  to  direct  them. 

The  dog  was  still  moaning  which  made  Marian 
spring  to  her  feet. 

"I've  got  to  do  something  for  him.  I  can't 
stand  his  howling  so.  I'm  going  to  try  catching 
some  rain  water  for  him." 

"  I'd  like  a  drink,  too,"  said  Julia,  and  went 
with  Marian  into  the  middle  room  for  the  broken 
pitcher.  They  emptied  some  stale  water  which 
they  found  in  the  pitcher ;  then  they  went  into 
the  kitchen  and  removed  the  log  from  the  door. 
The  wind  slammed  the  door  open  and  a  gush  of 
wind  and  rain  struck  the  girls  squarely  in  the 

"The  storm's  growing  worse  instead  of  bet- 
ter," said  Marian  as  she  stood  in  the  doorway 
trying  to  clean  the  pitcher  before  setting  it  out- 

"  I  feel  sorry  for  our  horses,  but  the  trees  will 
protect  them." 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       131 

In  a  very  short  while  the  pitcher  was  ahuost 
filled.  "While  Marian  carried  it  in,  Julia  hastily 
replaced  the  log. 

The  three  children  enjoyed  a  drink  and  gave 
the  dog  what  was  left,  after  which  he  settled 
down  on  the  hearth  beside  them. 

Marian  looked  dreamily  at  the  fire.  "  It  must 
be  supper- time.  I  wonder  if  they'll  wait  for  us. 
Just  think  how  we  were  feasting  last  night  at 
this  time." 

"  We'd  better  not  think  of  it.  Water  is  a 
pretty  poor  substitute  for  food  when  one's 
hungry,"  sighed  Julia. 

The  dog  had  fallen  into  a  troubled  slumber, 
but  he  moaned  even  in  his  sleep. 

"Beth'll " 

A  sudden  noise  outside  brought  all  three 
children  to  their  feet  instantly.  The  dog  wak- 
ened, but  only  looked  expectant. 

"  They're  coming  home,"  whispered  Julia. 

"Suppose  they're  robbers,"  ventured  Marian. 

"I  don't  see  anything  to  steal.  It  sounds  to 
me  like  horses  stamping  around. 

"Mavbe  some  one's  after  our  horses.  What 
would  we  do  then  ?  I  don't  believe  we  ever 
could  find  our  way  home  on  foot." 

Now  that  they  were  all  listening  so  intently, 
they  noted  anew  how  the  wind  shrieked  around 
the  cabin  and  finally  drowned  the  other  noise. 

"We   might   be   murdered  and   the   folks  at 

132         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

home  would  never  know  what  had  become  of 
us,"  said  fearful  Marian. 

"Nonsense,"  but  Harvey  felt  less  confident 
than  he  pretended.  Nevertheless,  he  walked 
over  to  the  window  and  tried  to  peer  out,  but  it 
was  too  dark  to  distinguish  anything.  Julia 
glided  to  his  side. 

"  Harve,  come  away.  Even  if  we  can't  see 
them,  they  can  see  us  and  might  shoot  — 

A  sudden  crash  in  the  back  room  made  her 
finish  with  a  scream.  She  almost  felt  as  if  she 
had  been  shot. 

"  They're  coming  through  the  kitchen.  What 
shall  we  do  ?  "  Marian  rushed  over  beside  them, 
and  the  three  stood  huddled  together,  trembling 
greatly,  uncertain  what  new  calamity  to  expect, 
and  too  startled  to  move. 

There  was  no  doubt  about  the  kitchen  door 
being  open.  They  knew  it  by  the  cold  wind 
that  blew  in  on  them.  The  dog,  after  a  moment 
or  two,  settled  back  on  the  hearth  as  if  to  con- 
tinue his  nap. 

"There  can't  be  any  one  in  there  or  he 
wouldn't  take  it  so  calmly,"  whispered  Marian. 

"  Let's  go  and  see,"  proposed  Harvey. 

The  three  on  tiptoe  sneaked  to  the  threshold 
of  the  kitchen.  The  wind  shrieked  so  wildly 
through  the  open  door  that  they  could  not  tell 
if  any  one  had  been  there. 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       133 

**  What  are  you  doing  ?  "  demanded  Harvey, 
assuming  very  manly  tones. 

Wlien  they  received  no  reply,  Julia  confessed  : 

"  I  may  have  been  careless  about  the  log  when 
we  brought  the  water  in,  and  the  wind  must 
have  blown  it  down,"  and  she  walked  boldly 
over  and  slammed  the  door  shut.  Harvey,  fol- 
lowing close  beside  her,  replaced  the  log  against 
the  door. 

"  We're  nervous  enough  to  imagine  anything," 
which  was  a  good  deal  for  him  to  acknowledge. 
"I  believe  the  noise  outside  was  only  our  own 
animals  stamping  around,  frightened  by  the 

They  returned  to  the  front  room  a  somewhat 
subdued  trio.  As  the  fire  was  getting  low, 
Harvev  threw  on  the  last  loo^  of  wood. 

"  What  shall  we  do  when  that  burns  out  ?  " 
thought  Marian.  "  It'll  be  awful  in  the  dark." 
Aloud  she  said,  "  I  believe  we  might  better  have 
gone  on  in  the  storm.  They'll  be  awfully  scared 
about  us." 

"  We  couldn't  have  done  it.  It's  too  bad  a 
storm.     Just  listen  how  it's  pouring  now." 

"  Maybe  this  is  the  clearing  rain,"  suggested 

"  Well,  just  as  soon  as  it  lets  up  in  the  least 
bit,  we'll  try  to  get  home." 

Too  dispirited  to  talk  about  anything  but  their 

134         -^  ilfar'c/  of  the  Mountains 

adventure,  they  gazed  for  a  while  in  silence  at  the 
flames,  fast  dying  down.  Hunger  made  them 
more  miserable,  and  the  dog  groaning  in  his 
sleep  did  not  add  any  cheer.  Julia  yawned,  and 
presently  the  others  were  doing  likewise. 

"  If  I  wasn't  scared,  I'd  be  sleepy,"  confessed 
Julia  after  another  yawn. 

"  And  so  would  I,"  agreed  Marian. 

Harvey  slipped  off  his  coat. 

"  What  are  you  doing  that  for,  Harve  ?  '* 

"  So  you  girls  can  have  it  for  a  pillow.  Hon- 
estly, I'll  be  plenty  warm  without  it." 

"  I  couldn't  possibly  sleep." 


"  Well  it  will  not  hurt  you  to  rest.  We'll  be 
starting  soon  now,  and  you'll  need  all  your 
strength  to  reach  home.  So  just  try  to  please 

"  I'll  use  the  dog  for  a  pillow,"  answered 
Marian,  settling  down  beside  him. 

"  That's  cruelty  to  animals,"  declared  Harvey. 
*'  I  really  don't  want  the  coat  and  you  must  take 

Thus  persuaded  the  girls  accepted  his  kindly 
offer,  and  with  their  arms  twined  about  each 
other  lay  down  beside  the  dog  with  their  heads 
on  the  coat. 

"This  is  nice,  Harve,"  murmured  Marian 

"  Don't  talk,"  he  said,  adding,  "  I'm  going  to 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       135 

rest  myself."  He  had  no  such  intention  but 
hoped  the  girls  would  sleep  if  he  did  not  talk. 

Although  they  had  not  expected  to  sleep, 
neither  remembered  anything  more  until  Harvey 
awakened  them. 

*'  Girls,  the  storm  is  over.  We  had  better  go," 
were  the  welcome  words  they  heard  as  conscious- 
ness returned.  For  a  moment  they  were  some- 
what confused  as  the  fire  had  died  out  and  left 
them  completely  in  the  dark. 

"  Have  we  really  and  truly  been  asleep  ? " 
cried  Marian,  jumping  up.  Julia  only  rubbed 
her  eyes  trying  to  waken  fully. 

"  Well,  I  should  say  you  had  been  sleeping — it 
seemed  hours  to  me." 

"  And  you  were  awake  all  the  time  ?  That 
was  brave  of  you,  Harve.  I  wouldn't  have 
watched  by  myself." 

"  Has  it  really  cleared  ?  "  asked  Julia  who  was 
now  standing  and  stretching  her  arms. 

"The  stars  are  out.  Shall  we  take  the  dog 
with  us  ?  " 

"  Yes,  yes,"  cried  the  girls  together,  and 
Marian  added,  "  Poor  fellow,  you  shan't  starve. 
We'll  feed  you  up  well,  and  then  send  you 

She  coaxed  the  dog  to  the  door  with  her,  but 
he  would  not  follow  a  step  farther,  coax  as  much 
as  they  all  would. 

**  How  very  faithful  he  is  even  if  his  people  do 

13^         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

treat  him  so  badly.  I  fear  we'll  have  to  leave 
him,"  said  Marian  regretfully.  "Perhaps  it 
would  be  wrong  to  coax  him  away  even  if  we 

Meantime  Harvey  had  gone  over  to  unhitch 
their  steeds. 

"  E-ueur's  gone  ! "  he  cried. 

The  girls  did  not  even  stop  to  bid  the  dog 
good-bye.  They  slammed  the  door  shut  and 
hurried  over  beside  Harvey.  No  single  trace  of 
the  mule  was  discernible,  the  rain  having  washed 
all  tracks  away.  One  of  the  horses  whinnied  as 
if  he  wished  to  tell  something. 

"  He  was  stolen  when  we  heard  the  noise," 
cried  Julia. 

"  More  likely  he  was  frightened  by  the  storm 
and  broke  loose.  Mules  are  very  strong.  I 
reckon  it  was  he  we  heard  tramping  around.  I 
wish  I  had  come  out  here  at  the  time.  I'm 
ashamed  of  myself  to  think  I  was  such  a  coward." 

"  We  were  worse  than  you.  What  shall  we 

"We'll  have  to  ride  double.  Julia,  being 
lighter,  had  better  go  with  me  on  the  stronger 

"  If  we  only  knew  the  way  home,  this  would 
be  fun,"  declared  Julia  a  moment  later,  mounted 
behind  Harvey.  They  decided  to  retrace  their 
steps  back  to  the  main  road  as  riding  through 
the  woods  was  "  spooky,"  as  they  expressed  it. 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       137 

A  howl  from  the  cabin  back  of  them  caused 
Marian's  heart  to  sink. 

''  Poor  old  fellow,  he  misses  us  terribly.  Why 
wouldn't  he  come  with  us  ?  " 

For  a  short  distance  riding  was  easy  because 
of  the  carpet  of  pine  needles  over  the  path,  but, 
once  on  the  clay  road,  the  horses  had  to  be  very 
careful  of  their  footing  as  the  storm  had  wrought 
havoc  there.  The  children  chose  the  turn  un- 
traveled  by  them,  hoping  to  come  upon  some 
cabin,  and  they  were  not  disappointed.  After 
riding  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  suddenly  on  the 
left  they  beheld  a  hut,  but  in  which  gleamed  no 
welcoming  light. 

"Perhaps  it's  deserted  like  the  others,"  said 

"  "Well  if  any  one's  within,  PU  soon  rouse  them,'* 
answered  Harvey  as  he  hurriedly  alighted  and 
walked  boldly  up  to  the  door. 

At  first  he  received  no  response,  but  just  as  he 
was  about  to  give  up,  some  one  within  growled  : 

"  What's  wanted  ?  Xice  time  of  night  to  rout 
a  feller  out  of  bed." 

Harvey  had  lost  track  of  time  but  knew  that 
it  could  not  be  very  late,  and  then  he  remembered 
that  mountaineers  kept  early  hours. 

a  "VVe're  lost.  We  want  to  know  how  to  reach 

The  door  opened  cautiously  and  a  tousled  head 
peeked  out  at  him. 

138         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Lost,  be  ye  ? — Why,  you  uns  be  nothin'  but 
children.     Whar  war  ye  in  the  storm  ?  " 

Harvey  answered  by  a  counter  question. 
"  Can  you  tell  us  what's  become  of  all  the 
people  in  the  little  settlement  back  here  in  the 
woods  ?  " 

"They're  all  gone — all  gone,"  repeated  the 
man  solemnly. 

"  Deserted  the  place  ?  " 

"  No — dead.  Dead  of  smallpox,  an'  what  was 
left  fled." 

"  Smallpox  ?  "  repeated  Harvey,  too  horrified 
for  more  questioning. 

"  Oh,  Julia,  smallpox,"  gasped  Marian,  who  had 

Julia  said  nothing,  but  her  blood  seemed  to 
stop  flowing. 

"  You  UHS  didn't  go  in  any  of  them  air  places, 
did  ver  ?  " 

Harvey  had  no  time  to  answer  questions. 

"  I  suppose  the  houses  vrere  fumigated,"  he 

"  Fumigated,"  repeated  the  man,  "  fumigated  ?" 
Then  to  cover  his  ignorance  he  began  to  talk 
that  he  might  not  be  questioned.  "  They  came 
here  to  hew  logs  for  the  railroad,  an'  they  brought 
their  wives  an'  children  an'  animals,  ex- 
pectin' " 

"  There's  a  dog  in  one  of  the  houses  now,"  in- 
terrupted Harvey. 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       139 

"  I'd  hearn  that  that  thar  dawg  wuz  back. 
'Fore  the  man  took  down  with  smallpox,  the 
dawg  an'  him  war  every  whar  together.  The 
man  had  no  wife  nor  chick,  only  the  dawg,  an'  I 
reckon  he  sot  more  by  him  than  by  any  human 
bein',  for  they  say  as  how  he  wuz  a  queer  chap 
not  like  the  rest,  an'  wuz  moighty  mum  'bout  his 
affairs.  An'  the  dawg  sot  a  power  by  his  master. 
While  the  man  wuz  down  with  the  smallpox, 
they  say  as  how  the  dawg  never  left  his  side,  an' 
when  the  man  died  the  dawg  jes'  grieved  an' 
grieved  like  a  human  bein'.  Then  when  what 
war  left  started  'way  they  tried  to  take  ther  dawg 
'long  with  um,  but  he  sneaked  'way  somehow  an' 
come  back  huntin'  his  master  I  reckon.  I've 
hearn  somethin'  howlin'  when  I've  been  out  in 
the  woods,  but  'lowed  as  how  hit  moight  be 

"  Please,  please  go  over  and  coax  him  away," 
called  Marian. 

"  'Deed  not,"  answered  the  man  unhesitatingly. 
"  I  ain't  no  use  fer  dawgs,  an'  I  won't  never  go 
near  them  places,  nohow." 

"  Did  you  see  anything  of  a  stray  mule  ? " 
asked  Harvey. 

"  A  stray  mule  is  hit  ? "  laughed  the  man. 
"An  hour  or  two  gone,  I  looked  out  jes'  'fore 
goin'  to  bed.  Hit  wuz  stormin'  powerful  hard, 
an'  wuz  that  dark  I  couldn't  make  head  or  tail 
of  nothin'.    Then   the  sky   wuz  all  lit  up  fer  a 

140         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

moment,  an'  I  'lowed  I  seen  a  pair  of  heels 
streakin'  toward  Landrums.  I  rubbed  my  eyes 
an'  as  hit  wuz  gone,  I  half  reckoned  I  wuz  dreamin', 
but  hit  may  have  been  a  mule.  But  yer  wanted 
to  know  how  to  reach  Tremont.  I  don't  see  as 
how  you  uns  can  be  lost.  Yer've  not  far  to  go 
to  get  thar  now.  Jes'  keep  right  on,  an'  then 
take  the  first  turn  to  the  right  an'  that  takes  yer 
plum  to  ther  railroad.     Thar  ride  back  a " 

"  Ride  back  ?  "  interrupted  Harvey. 

"Sartain  sure.  Tremont  is  back  toward  the 

Harvey  could  not  understand  how  they  had 
circled  out  of  their  way  so  far,  but  he  only  said, 
"  Thank  you.     Good-night." 

The  man  would  have  liked  to  question  him 
more,  but  Harvey  was  back  in  front  of  Julia  and 
away  before  the  man  had  collected  his  thoughts. 

For  a  moment  or  two  the  children  rode  on 
in  silence  all  thinking  of  what  they  had  just 

The  trees  on  either  side  of  the  road,  water-laden 
and  wind-shaken,  shed  great  drops,  wetting  the 
riders  considerably,  although  no  rain  was  falling. 
Stars  were  trying  to  shine  through  fast  scurrying 
clouds.  Although  the  wind  had  quieted  some- 
what, it  still  moaned  as  a  discontented  animal 
in  leash,  and  every  once  in  a  while  it  whirled 
madly  eastward  as  if  trying  to  again  escape 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       141 

"  I  hate  to  have  papa  and  mamma  know  about 
the  smallpox,"  broke  out  Marian.  Her  voice  sank 
to  a  whisper  at  the  very  mention  of  the  dread 
plague.  "  They've  had  so  much  care  lately,  and 
now,  just  as  everything  was  coming  along  so 
splendidly,  to  have  this  new  worry  is  a  shame." 

"  Don't  let's  tell  until  we're  sure  we're  not  go- 
ing to  have  it.  Were  you  girls  vaccinated  ?  I 
suppose  you  were  because  all  the  school  children 
had  to  be." 

"  Mine  didn't  take,"  Marian  murmured. 

"  Mine  took  a  little." 

"  Mine  took  all  right.  I  was  terribly  sick," 
added  Harv^ey.  "Don't  worry,  girls.  I  don't  be- 
lieve there's  much  danger  although  the  man 
didn't  answer  about  fumigation.  The  people 
around  a  civilized  country  like  this  wouldn't  leave 
a  house  like  that  open  without  taking  every 
possible  precaution." 

"  We'll  hope  not,  and  I  think  it  a  good  idea 
not  to  speak  of  smallpox  at  home."  Another 
matter  was  troubling  tender-hearted  Marian.  "  I 
can't  help  worrying  about  that  poor  dog.  I'll  not 
be  able  to  sleep  to-night  thinking  of  him  without 
anything  to  eat.  I  do  wish  that  man  had 
promised  to  go  for  him.  How  could  he  be  so 
hard-hearted  ?  " 

"  I  hear  some  one  coming  up  the  road,"  whis- 
pered Julia.  "Maybe  it's  a  robber.  Let's  hide 
behind  the  trees." 

142         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Although  for  a  moment  a  bend  in  the  road 
screened  the  approaching  rider,  some  one  was  un- 
mistakably near. 

"  Nonsense.  There  are  three  of  us  and  so  we're 
safe,"  answered  Har\rey. 

"  It's  a  man  on  a  mule,"  said  Marian. 

At  the  same  moment  the  rider  espied  them  and 
cried  out : 

"  Children,  are  you  all  safe  ?  " 

"Why  papa — it's  you,  and  at  first  we  were 
afraid  of  you.  Yes,  we're  all  safe  only  Kueur's 

"  Thank  God  ! "  he  murmured  as  he  rode  up 
beside  them. 

"  Why  Mr.  Davenport,  you're  on  Rueur,"  ex- 
claimed Harvey,  suddenly. 

"  Yes,  a  little  girl  brought  him  to  the  house 
and  we  feared  something  had  happened.  I  was 
on  my  way  to  Landrums,  but  we  mustn't  stop 
now.  They're  in  dreadful  suspense  about  you 
at  home,  and  we  must  ride  as  fast  as  the  slippery 
roads  will  allow." 

He  turned  Kueur  in  the  direction  of  Tremont, 
and  hunger  so  beset  the  sure-footed  mule  that  he 
easily  distanced  the  horses,  and  would  not  be  held 
back,  so  there  was  little  chance  for  conversation. 
The  mere  presence  of  Mr.  Davenport  so  eased  the 
children's  minds  that  it  seemed  a  very  short  time 
to  them  before  they  saw  the  welcoming  gleam  of 
the  home  lights. 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       143 

"  Chillun,  cbillun,  am  dat  yo'  ?  "  called  Maggie 
from  the  doorway. 

At  the  sound  of  their  voices,  she  began  shout- 
ing, "  Missy  Beth,  dey  are  safe,  dey  are  come,  an' 
massa  am  wid  dem.  Glory  halleluia."  She 
rushed  into  the  house  still  shouting.  The  chil- 
dren quickly  followed. 

Mrs.  Davenport  ran  down  to  greet  them. 
Tears  that  had  been  held  back  while  she  feared 
for  their  safety  now  forced  their  way  to  her 
sparkling  eyes  and  one  or  two  even  rolled  down 
her  cheeks.  It  would  have  been  a  relief  to  shout 
her  joy  with  Maggie,  but  instead  she  hugged  all 
three  of  them,  and  even  Harvey  was  glad  to  feel 
her  arms  about  him. 

"Have  they  really,  really  come,  mamma?" 
they  heard  Beth  calling  down  the  stairs.  "  It's 
too  good  to  be  true.  I  can't  believe  they're  safe 
until  I  see  them." 

"  Hello,  Beth,"  cried  Harvey  skipping  up  the 
stairs  two  steps  at  a  time.  The  girls  and  Mrs. 
Davenport  were  not  far  behind. 

"  Oh,  I'm  so  glad  you've  come !  Why  I'm  so 
happy  over  it,  I'd  like  to  dance." 

"  I'll  dance  for  you.  Missy  Beth,"  cried  Gustus, 
taking  the  centre  of  the  floor  and  shuffling  his 
feet  joyously. 

Her  eyes  rested  on  him  reprovingly.  "  You 
said  something  would  happen,  Gustus,  and  now 
they're  here  all  right,  signs  or  no  signs." 

144         -^  ^^^^  ^f  ^^^  Mountains 

For  an  instant  he  was  nonplused.  "  Dem 
signs,  Missy  Beth — dem  shurely  meant  some- 
thin'.  What  'bout  dat  mule  comin'  back  widout 
any  one  on  him — what  'bout  dat  ?  " 

"  He  got  loose,  that's  all,"  answered  Marian. 
"  We  have  just  heaps  to  tell  only  we're  starved." 

"  Maggie  has  kept  your  supper  warm,  and 
you'd  better  go  right  down  to  eat  it,"  said  Mrs. 

"You'll  all  come  back  the  minute  you're 
through  and  tell  me  everything  that's  happened, 
won't  you  ?  "  begged  Beth. 

They  promised,  and  then  hurried  down  to  their 
belated  supper. 

"  You  must  come  down  with  us,  Carol,"  in- 
sisted Mrs.  Davenport. 

"  I  hain't  one  mite  hungry,"  she  answered,  but 
later  she  disproved  her  words  by  eating  all  of 
Mr.  Davenport's  bountiful  helping. 

"  It  was  very  brave  of  you  to  come  through 
the  dark  and  storm  to  tell  us  about  Kueur, 
Carol,"  said  Mrs.  Davenport,  remembering  she 
had  not  thanked  the  girl. 

Carol  flushed,  evidently  pleased.  "  I  did  hit 
'cause  of  yer  gal,"  she  muttered.  "  She  was  rale 
good  to  me  to-day,  an'  I  like  her." 

Beth's  parents  exchanged  glances,  glad  that 
their  little  daughter  won  hearts  easily. 

Carol  would  have  departed  when  they  rose 
from  the  table  had  they  not  insisted  upon  ho 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       145 

going  with  them  a  while  to  Beth's  room.  They 
knew  that  her  people  would  not  worry  as  they 
supposed  she  was  still  at  Landrums. 

Even  Gustus  and  Maggie  went  up-stairs  to 
hear  what  had  befallen  the  children.  All  three 
took  turns  in  relating  their  adventure. 

"  It  was  risky  your  breaking  in  the  cabin  the 
way  you  did,"  said  Mr.  Davenport  when  they 
came  to  that  part.  "  It  is  a  hanging  offense  to 
break  in  a  house  here  in  North  Carolina.  They're 
as  strict  about  it  as  they  are  about  murder. 
That's  the  reason  so  few  homes  are  burglarized 
in  this  state.  It's  strange  that  all  the  cabins 
were  deserted." 

The  girls  exchanged  glances  then  looked  to 
Harvey  to  say  something  but  he  was  nonplused 
for  the  moment. 

"  We  wondered  at  it,  too,  papa,"  murmured 
Marian,  anxious  to  keep  their  secret. 

"  Possibly  the  owners  caAie  here  to  do  some 
special  work  on  the  railroad  and,  when  it  was 
finished,  they  just  deserted  their  cabins.  You 
say  they  were  cheap  affairs  anyway  ?" 

"  That  was  probably  it,  Mr.  Davenport," 
agreed  Harvey  quickly. 

Marian  breathed  a  sigh  of  relief. 

"  Go  on  about  the  dog,"  demanded  Beth  im- 
patient of  interruption.  Her  eyes  grew  misty  as 
they  told  of  his  pitiful  condition. 

"  And  he's  starving  ?  "  she  murmured.     "  Oh, 

146         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

the  poor,  poor  fellow.  I  wish  he  was  here. 
Can't  we  send  for  him  ?  " 

"  We'll  send  to-morrow,"  promised  Mr.  Daven- 

"  But,  papa,  suppose  he  died  in  the  night  ? 
Let's  send  some  one  for  him  now." 

"  Suppose  we  send  Gustus,"  proposed  Harvey, 
his  eyes  twinkling. 

Gustus's  eyes  began  to  roll.  *'  Ko,  no,  Massa 
Harve,  yo'  wouldn't  send  me  in  de  dark  an' " 

"  You're   not   scared,  Gustus  ?  " 

"  No,  no,  Massa,  Harve,"  but  his  teeth  chat- 
tered. "  I — I — it's  too  far  to  walk,  ain't  it,  an' 
I  has  no  way  to  go." 

"  You'd  lend  him  Rueur,  wouldn't  you,  Beth  ?  " 
and  Harvey  winked  at  her  to  see  if  she  was 
appreciating  the  fun  with  him. 

But  she  was  in  no  mood  to  enjoy  the  cowardice 
of  Gustus.  "  I'd  be  only  too  glad  to  have  any 
one  take  Rueur  if  they'd  only  bring  that  dog 
here  to-night." 

"  So,  Gustus,  there's  nothing  to  keep  you  now," 
continued  Harvey  tauntingly. 

Gustus  scratched  his  woolly  head  greatly  per- 
plexed. He  would  not  acknowledge  that  he  was 
afraid  to  go,  and  did  not  know  what  to  answer. 
His  face  lightened  with  an  unexpected  solution 
of  the  problem. 

"  How  yo'  done  specs  me  to  find  dat  place  all 
alone  when  I  don't  know  whar  it  is  ?  " 

Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       147 

"  The  man  was  sleeping,  and  Harve  wakened 
him,"  continued  Marian  who  had  gone  on  with 
the  recital  while  Harvey  teased  Gustus. 

Carol  rose.  "  Hit  makes  me  'low  I  moight 
find  them  all  to  sleep  to  hum,  so  I  must  be 

"  I'll  see  you  home,"  cried  Harvey  with  alacrity. 

"  Don't  yer  mind  me,"  began  Carol,  but  he  did 
not  allow  her  to  finish.  *'  Come  on,"  he  called 
hurrying  from  the  room,  and  she  meekly  fol- 

"  He's  growing  suddenly  very  gallant,"  com- 
mented Marian  as  the  door  closed  behind  the 
two.     "  He's  generally  bashful  with  strangers." 

"  I  reckon  he  feels  sorry  for  Carol.  I  do," 
said  Beth,  but  quickly  added,  "  I  don't  know 
why  I'm  sorry  though.  She  says  they  are  to 
have  heaps  and  heaps  of  money.  I  wonder  if 
it's  so." 

*'  I've  heard  about  her  folks  then,"  said  Mr. 

*'  Are  they  to  be  rich,  papa  ?  " 

"  I  can't  say.  All  I  know  is  that  lawyers  are 
making  her  father  think  he's  to  have  vast  wealth. 
It  seems  that  some  branch  of  the  Cornwell 
family  owned  property  in  Alabama " 

"  Carol  told  me  that  they  used  to  live  there," 
interrupted  Beth  and  added,  "  Tell  me  all  you 
know,  papa.  I'm  very  much  interested  in  Carol, 
and    I'm    so    glad   she's "     Beth  suddenly 

148  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

stopped.  She  was  ashamed  even  to  have  thought 
Carol  untruthful. 

"  Well  this  property  was  left  to  another 
branch  of  the  family,  and  CaroPs  grandfather 
made  no  objections  as  the  property  was  consid- 
ered practically  worthless,  but  very  recently 
rich  deposits  of  iron  ore  have  been  discovered  on 
the  land  whiich  makes  it  extremely  valuable. 
Then  some  lawyer  found  that  there  was  some 
flaw  in  the  title — some  ancestor  had  failed  to 
sign  a  deed  I  believe,  or  it  may  not  have  been 
properly  witnessed.  Anyway  the  lawyer  got 
after  old  man  Corn  well  in  Alabama  and  made 
him  believe  he  could  get  back  his  share  of  the 
land,  and  so  he  carried  the  matter  into  court. 
He  died  very  suddenly  and  what  little  he  had  was 
left  to  his  son  up  here  along  with  the  lawsuit." 

"  And  they're  really  to  have  money  ?  "  ques- 
tioned Beth. 

"  No  one  can  tell  as  to  that.  If  they  win  the 
case,  they'll  be  very  wealthy,  but  if  they  lose, 
they'll  be  worse  off  than  ever  for  the  lawyers 
are  getting  what  little  money  Cornwell  had,  and 
the  worst  of  it  is  that  he  refuses  to  work  now, 

and "  but  he  too  stopped  suddenly,  deciding 

that  he  would  not  speak  of  the  dark  cloud  that 
hung  over  Carol  through  her  father. 

Beth  was  so  busy  picturing  Carol  with  wealth 
that  she  did  not  notice  any  break. 

"  She'll  have  the  fine  things  she  was  telling 



Harvey  Brings  Watch  to  Beth        149 

about  and  take  music  lessons — I  don't  believe 
she  can  sing,  though.  I  hope  she'll  come  again," 
she  thought,  and  the  romance  of  the  situation 
caused  her  to  feel  an  added  interest  in  the  moun- 
tain girl.  In  fact  Beth  was  so  absorbed  in  specu- 
lation in  regard  to  Carol  that  she  had  to  tell  all 
she  had  learned  from  the  mountain  girl  to  see 
what  they  would  think.  Time  passed  quickly 
for  all  present  but  Gustus.  He  alone  realized 
the  lateness  of  the  hour.  He  yawned  and  tried 
to  attract  attention  to  his  sleepiness.  But 
failing  by  quiet  means,  he  arose  and  stretched 
his  arms  gaping  noisily. 

"Why,  Gustus,  are  you  sleepy  ?"  cried  Beth, 
greatly  surprised. 

"  I  reckon  I  ought  ter  be,  Missy  Beth.  'Peers 
like  to  me  it  must  be  powerful  late." 

"Why  it  is  late,"  exclaimed  Mr.  Davenport 
looking  at  his  watch. 

"  I  wonder  why  Harvey  don't  come,"  said 
Beth.  "  He  can't  be  staying  all  this  time  down 
at  Carol's." 

"  Perhaps  it's  storming  again,"  and  Marian 
walked  to  one  of  the  French  windows  at  the 
end  of  the  room.     She  opened  it  and  looked  out. 

"  No,  it  has  cleared  up  for  good.  The  moon 
is  shining.  Why  somebody  is  riding  up  our 
road,"  she  added  as  she  was  about  to  turn  away 
from  the  window.  "  Who  can  it  be  so  late  at 
night  ?  " 

150         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Julia  and  Gustus  ran  over  to  look  too. 

"  Whoebber  it  am,  dey're  leadin'  somethin'," 
muttered  Gustus.     *'  It  looks  like  a  bear." 

"  Hello,  girls,"  called  the  rider. 

"  Why  it's  Harvey,  Beth,"  cried  Marian,  rush- 
ing back  into  the  room.  "  Where  can  he  have 
been,  and  I  wonder  what  he  has  with  him  ?  " 

Beth's  heart  beat  convulsively.  She  wondered 
if  Harvey  could  have  ridden  forth  to  please  her, 
but  then  concluded  that  it  was  too  great  an  un- 
dertaking for  him.  But  just  as  she  had  come  to 
this  conclusion,  Harvey  walked  proudly  into  the 
room  leading  a  dog  by  a  rope. 

^'  Oh,  Harve,  how  good  of  you,"  Beth  gasped. 

"  Why  it's  our  dog  of  the  cabin,"  cried  Marian. 
She  and  Julia  rushed  to  the  dog's  side.  He 
looked  up  at  them  as  if  pleased  to  see  them 

"  You  rode  all  alone  for  him  ?  That  was  very 
manly  of  you,  Harvey,"  said  Mrs.  Davenport. 

"  It  came  to  me  when  Beth  spoke  of  being  so 
very  sorry  about  the  dog  that  I  just  couldn't 
leave  him  there  until  morning,  for  he  might  have 
starved  the  way  she  feared,"  explained  Harvey. 
"  She  said  any  one  was  welcome  to  take  Rueur, 
and  when  I  offered  to  go  with  Carol  it  was  all  a 
bluff.  I  knew  she  wouldn't  be  afraid  to  go  home 
alone.  She  said  she  wasn't,  so  I  just  hurried 
down-stairs,  to  get  some  food  for  the  dog.  Then 
I  saddled  Rueur  and  rode  back  to  the  cabin  as 

Haroeyi  Brings  Watch  to  Beth       151 

hard  as  I  could  go.  I  heard  the  poor  old  fellow 
howling  long  before  I  reached  the  cabin,  and  I 
am  mighty  glad  I  didn't  wait  until  morning." 

"  Was  he  glad  to  see  you  ?  "  asked  Marian,  her 
face  beaming. 

"  Glad  ?  Glad  is  no  name  for  it.  He  jumped 
all  over  me  and  gobbled  up  every  bit  of  the  food 
I  gave  him." 

"  And  weren't  you  afraid  going  back  there  all 
alone?  I  wouldn't  have  gone  for  the  world," 
said  Marian  with  a  shudder. 

"  Kot  a  bit  of  it,"  and  Harvey  laughed.  "  I 
was  thinking  all  the  time  how  surprised  you 
would  all  be,  and  how  glad  Beth  would  be,  and 
so  I  was  there  and  back  in  no  time." 

"  I'm  more  glad  than  I  can  tell.  It's  about  as 
nice  a  thing  as  I  ever  had  done  for  me."  Beth 
also  smiled  her  approval.  "  What  shall  we  call 
the  dog  ?     You  name  him,  Harve." 

"  How  would  Watch  do  ?  You  know  he  was 
watching  for  his  dead  master." 

"  His  dead  master  ?  "  repeated  Mrs.  Daven- 

Again  Harvey  and  the  girls  exchanged 

"  We  thought  perhaps  his  master  was  dead," 
muttered  Harvey.  "  What  do  you  think  of 
Watch  for  a  name,  Beth  ?  " 

"  It's  a  good  name.  Come  here,  Watch," 
agreed  Beth. 

152         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"Now  to  bed,"  said  Mrs.  Davenport,  rising. 
"  Marian,  come  with  me.    I  wish  to  speak  to  you." 

Utterly  unsuspicious  of  what  was  coming, 
Marian  followed  her  mother  as  requested. 

"  You  are  keeping  something  from  me.  What 
is  it  ?  "  Mrs.  Davenport  demanded,  facing  Marian. 

Marian's  face  crimsoned.  "  How  did  you  know, 
mamma  ?  " 

"  I  saw  you  and  Harvey  exchange  glances,  and 
then  I  knew  by  your  face." 

Marian  threw  her  arms  about  her  mother's 
neck.  "  We  didn't  want  to  worry  you,"  she  mur- 
mured, "  but  it  will  not  be  so  hard  if  you  know." 

As  Mrs.  Davenport  heard  how  the  people  in 
the  cabins  had  died  of  smallpox,  she  drew  Marian 
closer.  For  a  moment  after  Marian  had  finished, 
fighting  her  own  fears,  the  mother  said  nothing. 

"  Suppose  they  had  really  been  exposed,  was  it 
not  her  duty  to  keep  them  a^vay  from  Beth  ?  '* 
This  was  one  of  the  questions  she  turned  over 
and  over  in  her  mind. 

"  No,"  she  finally  decided,  "  if  there's  any  danger 
of  contagion,  the  damage  has  already  been  done, 
and  we  can  but  hope  for  the  best." 

Aloud  she  said,  "  We  will  not  tell  the  others. 
There  is  no  use  worrying  them,  and  we  will  not 
believe  there  is  danger  of  contagion  for  any  of 
you.  The  house  must  have  been  fumigated.  Do 
not  worry,  dear.  Good-night  and  God  keep  and 
bless  you." 


The  ''  Wicked  Woman  " 

The  following  morning,  Beth  was  again  carried 
down  to  the  south  piazza.  She  was  gaining 
strength  rapidly.  Her  face  was  joyous  as  she 
sat  propped  up  in  the  hammock,  surrounded  by 
all  her  pets,  the  squirrel,  Dick,  the  mocking-bird, 
Duke  and  the  new  dog,  Watch.  The  latter  ap- 
peared to  like  his  new  home,  but  Duke  was  in- 
clined to  be  jealous  of  any  attention  shown  the 

"Duke  Davenport,  you  should  just  be  ashamed 
of  yourself,"  said  Beth,  calling  him  to  her  and 
shaking  her  finger  reprovingly.  He  jumped  up 
placing  his  two  great  front  paws  on  the  edge  of 
the  hammock  and  from  the  way  his  tail  wagged, 
he  appeared  to  think  his  mistress  was  praising 
him.  Perhaps  it  was  because  her  voice  was  mild 
even  though  scolding  him. 

"  It's  very,  very  naughty  to  be  jealous.  I  used 
to  be,  and  so  I  know  it's  wrong,  Dukie.  Don't 
tell,  but  it's  hard  not  to  be  sometimes  now. 
Mamma  is  teaching  me  not  to  be  and  I  must  teach 
you.  Besides  you  have  no  cause  to  be  jealous. 
I'll  always  love  you  the  best." 

156         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Duke  barked  as  if  he  understood. 

"Go  down  now  and  play  with  "Watch,"  she 
commanded,  pushing  him  away.  He  stalked 
down  beside  the  new  dog  and  began  sniffing  at 
him  as  much  as  to  say : 

"  My  mistress  wants  me  to  be  friends  with  you. 
I'm  not  sure  I  can  like  you,  but  for  her  sake  I'll 

Beth  pulled  the  squirrel  up  to  her  and  unfasten- 
ing the  chain,  said  : 

"  You  can  go  again,  but  you  must  come  back  at 
meal-time  like  you  did  yesterday." 

Joyously,  the  squirrel  bounded  away.  At  this 
moment,  Dick,  hanging  in  the  cage  near  Beth, 
broke  into  song  and  she  looked  up  at  him  admir- 

"  You're  the  finest  singer  I  have  ever  heard," 
she  thought,  and  then  she  began  to  feel  sorry  for 
him  because  he  was  a  captive. 

"  Did  you  ever  know  what  it  is  to  be  free, 
Dickie  bird  ?  "  she  asked  as  he  paused  an  instant. 
"  No,  or  you  couldn't  sing  like  that,"  she  answered 
for  him.  "  I  wish  I  dared  let  you  go  free,  but 
you'd  jiever  come  back,  and  I'd  miss  you.  We'll 
try  to  make  you  happy.  You  shall  come  out 
here  every  day  with  me." 

Whereupon  Dick  broke  into  a  new  song,  and 
Carol  coming  up  the  hill  to  visit  Beth,  paused 

"  Oh,  if  I  could  sing  like  that,  I'd  be  powerful 

The  ''Wicked  Woman  "  157 

glad,"  she  murmured,  drinking  in  greedily  every 
sweet  note. 

Beth,  did  not  see  her  as  her  attention  was  taken 
up  by  sight  of  Harvey,  Marian  and  Julia  on  horse- 

"  You're  off,  are  you  ?  "  she  called. 

"  Yes,  we  had  to  get  an  early  start  as  we're  to 
hunt  up  chickens  and  eggs  this  morning," 
answered  Marian.  "  Don't  get  lonely  while  we're 

"  Don't  you  get  lost  to-day,"  was  Beth's  parting 

Watch  started  to  follow  the  riders,  and  Beth 
began  calling  him,  but,  as  he  was  unaccustomed 
to  his  new  name,  he  did  not  heed  her. 

Carol  came  to  her  rescue  by  chasing  the  dog 
and  brino^ino^  him  back  to  Beth. 

"Thank  you,  Carol.  I  was  afraid  he'd  get 
lost.  I'm  glad  to  see  you,"  said  Beth  as  Carol 
stood  panting  before  her,  holding  Watch  by  the 
collar  that  Beth  had  placed  on  him  before  letting 
him  loose. 

"  Whar  did  yer  get  him  ?  He  looks  like  a 
purp  of  Brune's  that  a  man  who  came  to  work 
on  the  railroad  got  from  we  uns." 

Beth  explained  how  Watch  had  been  brought 
by  Harvey  the  night  before. 

"  He's  Brune's  purp  sartain  sure."  She  patted 
his  head  as  she  spoke  and  then  called,  "  Brune, 
Brune,  come  an'  see  yer  son  !  '^ 

158         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Brune,  always  within  hailing  distance  of  her 
voice,  bounded  into  sight,  and  Watch  broke  free 
from  Carol's  hold  to  run  down  beside  Brune, 
greeting  him  as  if  he  knew  the  relationship 
between   them. 

"•  Look,  he  knows  Brune  an'  Brune  knows 
him  ! "  cried  Carol  delightedly.  "  He'll  be  a 
good  dawg  if  he's  anythin'  like  his  pap. 
Here's  a  present  fer  yer,"  she  added  drawing 
a  soiled  red  ribbon  from  her  pocket.  "  A  lady 
gave  hit  to  me  onct,  an'  I  sot  a  power  by  hit, 
but  I  wants  yer  to  have  hit." 

Beth  drew  back.  "  Oh,  Carol,  I'd  rather  have 
you  keep  it." 

Carol  looked  disappointed.  "  Perhaps  yer 
don't  think  hit  nice." 

"  It's  not  that."  Beth  hated  to  hurt  her  feel- 
ings and  added,  "  I  always  like  red." 

*'  Yer  must  take  hit  then,"  and  the  ribbon  was 
thrust  down  beside  Beth  who  began  turning 
over  in  her  mind  what  she  should  give  Carol 
in  return. 

The  two  girls  were  so  intent  on  their  own 
affairs  that  they  had  not  noticed  the  approach  of 
a  lady  on  horseback,  but  the  three  dogs  leaped 
out  into  the  path  before  the  rider  and  barked. 

"  Oh,  Mrs.  Morton,  I'm  so  glad  to  see  you," 
cried  Beth,  delightedly. 

Carol  arose,  intending  to  sneak  away. 

"  Why,  that   dog  looks  like  one  my  husband 

The  '*  Wicked  Woman  *'  159 

lost  up  in  these  mountains  a  few  years  ago ! " 
exclaimed  Mrs.  Morton  pointing  to  Carol's  dog. 
"  His  name  was  Brune." 

For  a  moment  Carol  stood  like  one  paralyzed. 
Her  face  grew  so  very  white  that  she  seemed  to 
have  no  vitality  left ;  then  this  inaction  gave 
place  to  a  frenzy  of  passion.  She  flew  down  the 
steps  like  one  possessed  while  her  eyes  blazed. 

"  Yer  shan't  take  my  dawg,"  she  cried,  clinch- 
ing her  hands.  "  Brune's  mine,  he's  my  dawg. 
Come  away,  Brune.  We'll  hide  from  that  wicked 
woman,"  and  down  the  hill  she  started  with 
Brune  close  after  her. 

At  first  Beth  was  too  surprised  to  speak. 

"  Call  her  back,"  commanded  Mrs.  Morton. 

"  Carol,  don't  run  away.  Please  come  back," 
pleaded  Beth. 

Unshaken  in  her  resolve  to  keep  Brune  at  any 
cost,  Carol  ran  desperately  fast  until  she  no 
longer  heard  Beth  calling  except  in  imagination. 

Gasping,  she  drew  Brune  close  to  her,  and 
sinking  down  on  the  ground  beside  him,  threw 
her  arms  about  him,  weeping  as  if  fearful  he 
would  be  torn  from  her  any  instant. 

"She  shan't  take  yer  from  me.  We'll  run  far 
'wav  where  that  wicked,  wucked  woman  kin 
never  find  us."  She  arose  and  started  toward 
the  mountains  as  if  to  carry  her  threat  into  im- 
mediate effect.  With  every  step,  it  seemed  as  if 
she  heard  Beth  calling,  calling.     Again  she  threw 

i6o         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

herself  down  by  Brune,  sobbing  even  more 
convulsively.  As  if  sharing  her  fear,  he 

"  She'll  never  like  me  no  more,"  Carol  thought 
with  Beth's  call  tugging  at  her  heart.  "  But  I 
can't  go  back,  an'  give  my  dawg  up.  I  can't 
do  hit." 

Once  more  she  trudged  on  a  lictle  way,  but 
all  the  while  her  love  for  Beth  was  urging  her  to 

"Maybe  the  wicked  woman  wouldn't  take 
Brune  from  me  if  she  knew  as  how  I  loved  him." 
Again  she  turned  to  the  dog.  "  I'd  go  to  jail 
'fore  I'd  let  any  one  take  yer  from  me,"  she 
murmured.  "  Brune,  I  don't  want  yer  to  follow 
me.  Yer  must  lie  here  till  I  cum  fer  yer,  an' 
then  if  we  can't  stay  rightly  together,  we'll  run 
far  'way.     That's  right,  lie  still." 

Several  times  on  the  way  back  she  would  have 
rejoined  Brune  if  love  for  Beth  had  not  strength- 
ened her  toward  right  doing. 

The  sight  of  Mrs.  Morton,  or  the  "wicked 
woman  "  as  she  still  termed  her,  talking  earnestly 
to  Beth,  enraged  Carol  anew  so  that  she  would 
have  again  fled  if  Beth  had  not  caught  sight  of 
her  dress  among  the  trees. 

"Carol,  I'm  so  glad  you've  come  back." 

As  Carol  sidled  toward  the  porch,  sobs  choked 
her ;  her  eyes  were  so  blurred  that  she  could  see 
hardly  a  step  ahead.     So  frightened  was  she  that 

The  ''Wicked  Woman  "  161 

her  knees  gave  way,  causing  her  to  fall  limply 
down  at  the  foot  of  the  steps. 

"  Don't  take  my  dawg,  don't  take  Brune,"  she 
sobbed.  "  He's  'bout  all  I  have  to  love  in  all  the 
world.     I  love  him,  I  do." 

Until  this  moment,  Mrs.  Morton  had  fully  in- 
tended to  claim  the  dog,  principally  because  of 
Carol's  defiant  attitude,  and  even  Beth  thought 
Carol  in  the  wrong,  but  her  evident  grief  melted 
both  their  hearts. 

"  Haven't  you  parents  ? "  questioned  Mrs. 

"  Yes,  but — but  paw,  he — he  " — Carol  meant 
to  tell  how  he  ill-treated  them  all,  hoping  to 
gain  sympathy  so  that  she  could  keep  Brune, 
but  pride  held  the  confession  back.  "  Only  let 
me  keep  Brune,  an'  I'll  work  fer  yer,"  she 
pleaded.  When  Mrs.  Morton  did  not  answer 
immediately,  Carol  added  defiantly,  "Yer  kin 
send  me  to  jail,  only  I  must  keep  him."  Sud- 
denly a  new  inspiration  came  to  her.  "  Don't 
take  Brune,  an'  I'll  give  yer  all  my  money  when 
hit  comes.  "We're  to  have  heaps,  'though  we 
hain't  much  now.  Please,  please  let  me  keep 

"  Brune  is  yours.  I  give  him  to  you,"  an- 
swered Mrs.  Morton. 

The  reaction  made  Carol  hysterically  happy ; 
her  face  was  transfigured. 

"  Oh,  oh,  oh,"  she  sobbed  and  laughed.     "  I — 

i62  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

I  can't  help  hit  'cause  now  no  one  never  kin  take 
Brune  from  me  !  "  She  sprang  up  the  steps  be- 
side Mrs.  Morton  and  seizing  her  hand  kissed  it 
over  and  over. 

"  Forgive  me,"  she  sobbed.  "  I  called  yer  a 
wicked  woman  an'  I'm  the  wicked  one.  I  wish 
I  could  make  yer  as  happy  as  yer  have  made 
me.  Ye're  the  nicest  woman  in  the  world,  onlv 
yer  look  powerful  sad.  Is  thar  any  thin'  I  kin  do 
fer  yer  ?  " 

Mrs.  Morton's  face  twitched  convulsively. 
"  No  one  can  help  me,"  she  murmured.  To  hide 
the  tears  that  welled  over  as  she  spoke,  she  turned 
hastily  toward  the  house. 

"  I  am  going  in  to  see  your  mother  a  moment, 

"Did  I  say  somethin' as  I  hadn't  ort  to?" 
questioned  Carol. 

"  She  has  just  lost  her  little  baby  girl — her 
only  child." 

Carol  was  distressed.  "  I'm  rale  sorry ;  rale, 
rale  sorrv.  Isn't  thar  somethin'  I  kin  do  fer  her 
fer  givin'  me  back  Brune  ?  I  love  her  'cause  she 
did  that." 

"  If  there's  ever  anything  she  wants  done,  I'll 
let  you  know,  Carol." 

"  An'  I'd  do  hit  no  matter  how  hard  hit'd  be." 


Morning  after  morning,  Carol  came  to  keep 
Beth  company,  but  she  always  waited  until  the 
riders  had  departed,  and  then  bobbed  up  in  the 
most  unexpected  manner.  She  seldom  came 
empty-handed.  Sometimes,  she  only  had  a 
flower,  picked  on  the  way  ;  other  times,  it  was 
some  knickknack  that  she  treasured,  articles  ut- 
terly useless  in  themselves,  but  very  precious  in 
the  eyes  of  Carol.  Beth  rebelled  over  accepting 
such  gifts,  still  her  protests  proved  of  little  avail. 

"  Rich  folks  always  give  presents,"  she  an- 
swered when  Beth  objected.  "  'Sides  I  love  yer 
an'  love  to  give  yer  things." 

Not  only  did  she  bring  her  offerings  to  Beth, 
but  she  brought  others  to  send  Mrs.  Morton. 

"  She's  rich  like  you,  an'  don't  have  no  use  for 
the  presents  I  send,  but  it  'peers  like  to  me  that 
the  love  thoughts  I  send  'long  with  the  things 
may  help  her,"  confided  Carol  to  Beth,  and 
when  Beth  repeated  this  to  Mrs.  Morton,  the 
lonely  woman  was  so  pleased  that  she  resolved 
to  help  the  little  waif  of  the  mountains  if  she 

i66         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

On  these  morning  visits  of  Carol's,  the  two 
girls  were  always  surrounded  by  their  pets. 
The  squirrel  alone  ran  away  from  them,  but  in- 
variably, exactly  at  meal  time,  it  reappeared. 

"  How  do  you  suppose  it  knows  when  to  come 
back  ?  It  has  no  time  like  us  to  go  by,"  said 
Beth  to  Carol. 

"  Hit's  like  me,  I  reckon.  I  hain't  never  had 
no  time  to  go  by,  but  my  stomach  tells  me  when 
hit's  time  to  eat.  Animals  don't  need  to  larn 
sech  things.  Look  at  Dickie  thar.  He  never 
had  no  lessons,  but  he's  as  good  as  any  singer 
that's  had  lessons  an'  lessons.  He  jes'  keeps  his 
ears  open  an'  then  lets  forth.  That's  the  way  to 

In  truth,  Dickie  was  proving  not  only  a 
wonderful  vocalist,  but  a  great  mimic.  Both 
Beth  and  Carol  were  intensely  interested  in 
watching  the  progress  he  made. 

His  first  achievement  was  to  mimic  the  roost- 
ers and  hens.  The  girls  could  hardly  believe  the 
sounds  did  not  come  from  the  hen-house  when 
he  startled  them  with  a  crow  and  then  a  cackle. 

"  I  'most  'spected  to  see  him  flap  his  wings," 
announced  Carol  the  second  time  he  crowed. 

The  pussy  that  Gustus  had  was  very  playful, 
but  it  mewed  a  great  deal  as  it  was  always 
hungry  and  that  was  the  only  way  it  had  of  call- 
ing attention  to  its  wants.  Beth  always  knew 
when  it  was  around  by  its  cry. 

Don  167 

"  Meow,  meow,"  heard  Beth  and  Carol  as  they 
were  deeply  absorbed  in  playing  with  Beth's 

"  Here  kitty,  kitty,  kitty,"  called  Beth,  but  no 
kitty  jumped  up  as  usual  on  the  hammock  with 

"  Meow,  meow." 

"  Where  is  kitty  ?  I  can't  see  her  any  place," 
said  Beth. 

*'  Hit  hain't  kitty.     Hit's  Dickie." 

Another  morning,  before  Carol  had  appeared, 
the  children  rode  around  as  usual  to  bid  Beth 
good-bye.  As  the  horses  neared  the  piazza,  one 
of  them  whinnied.  Dick  cocked  his  wise  little 
head  to  listen.  The  horse  whinnied  the  second 
time,  and  Dick  heeded  even  more  intently. 

"  Oh,  Beth  ! "  exclaimed  Marian,  "  we've  some- 
thing perfectly  lovely  to  tell  you.  Mamma  thinks 
all  danger  of  our  hanng  the  smallpox  is  past.  " 

"  Smallpox,"  repeated  Beth  blankly. 

Marian  laughed  gayly.  "  Oh,  I  forgot  you  didn't 
know,"  and  then  she  explained  how  they  had 
been  exposed  the  night  they  were  lost. 

After  they  had  ridden  away,  Beth  lay  in  the 
hammock  with  deep  gratitude  in  her  heart  that 
nothing  worse  than  a  scare  had  followed  that 
awful  night. 

Suddenly  she  was  startled  by  a  whinny.  She 
looked  to  see  if  they  were  returning,  but  there 
was  no  sign  of  horse,  mule  or  human  being.     She 

i68         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

thought  she  must  have  imagined  the  sound,  but 
again  she  heard  a  whinny  just  like  the  one  the 
horse  had  made  a  few  minutes  before.  But  still 
no  horse  was  in  sight,  and  so  she  decided  that  it 
must  have  come  from  a  distance,  and  sounded  so 
near  because  of  the  wonderful  mountain  air. 

Just  as  she  accepted  this  solution,  for  the  third 
time  she  heard  the  whinny  and  it  was  unmistak- 
ably near-by. 

*'  Hit's  Dickie  !  Hit's  Dickie  !  "  cried  Carol, 
emerging  from  behind  a  tree  where  she  had  been 
watching.  "  I  know  hit's  him,"  she  continued  as 
she  rushed  up  on  the  piazza.  "  I  saw  him  with 
my  own  eyes." 

That  it  was  Dick  seemed  incredible  to  Beth, 
until  being  so  pleased  over  his  new  accomplish- 
ment, he  whinnied  once  more. 

"  It  is  Dick,"  cried  Beth  so  delighted  that  she 
clapped  her  hands  as  if  she  expected  an  encore. 
"  Isn't  he  wonderful  ?  IS'ext  to  Duke,  I  love  him 
the  best  of  any  of  my  pets." 

"  I've  another  pet  for  yer.  I'll  be  back  in  no 

Beth  tried  to  detain  her,  but  she  would  not 
heed.  Dick  broke  forth  into  a  joyous  flood  of 
song,  and  Beth  so  sympathized  with  his  mood 
that  she  sang  also.  Besides  her  joy  in  the  mock- 
ing-bird, she  had  great  cause  for  rejoicing.  She 
was  just  beginning  to  walk  around  a  little  by 
herself  and  there  was  never  a  happier  or  prouder 

Don  1 69 

girl  than  she  to  think  that  soon  she  would  need 
no  more  waiting  on,  but  could  do  things  for  her- 
self and  go  around  like  other  girls. 

"  I  wonder  what  I  can  get  for  Carol  ?  "  thought 
Beth  as  she  saw  her  coming  back  up  the  hill 
carrying  something  in  her  hand  that  was  covered 
with  a  cloth  and  which  on  nearer  view  proved  to 
be  a  cage. 

^'  What  are  you  doing  with  that,  Carol  ? " 
questioned  Beth  not  dreaming  it  could  be  the 
present  for  her. 

"Hit's  my  robin."  Carol  looked  very  impor- 
tant. "  I've  had  hit  most  a  year,  an'  hit  am  a 
powerful  nice  singer,  but  not  rale  peart  like  Dickie 
thar,  but  I  'low  as  how  Don'll  larn  some  from 
Dickie,  an'  I'll  think  on  that  if  I  ever  miss  him." 

"  She  wants  to  give  me  even  her  beloved  robin. 
What  shall  I  do?"  thought  Beth.  Carol  had 
told  her  how  greatly  she  prized  the  bird,  and 
Beth  felt  that  she  could  not  accept  such  a  gift. 

^'  It  was  nice  of  you  to  bring  it  over  to  visit 
Dickie  and  me,"  she  said  aloud. 

Carol  looked  distressed.  "  I  reckoned  as  how 
yer'd  keep  Don." 

"  Let  me  see  Don."  Beth  purposely  evaded 
the  question  of  accepting  the  gift.  Past  tilts 
with  Carol  in  which  she  had  been  routed  made 
her  dread  defeat. 

As  Carol  drew  off  the  cloth,  there  was  a  gleam 
in  her  blue   eyes   that  caused   Beth's  heart  to 

170         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

sink.  Carol,  did  not  intend  to  be  kept  from  her 

"  Hit  am  pretty  to  look  on,  hain't  hit  ?  "  asked 
Carol,  placing  the  uncovered  cage  on  a  table  beside 
Beth.  "'  An'  if  hit  don't  sing  as  nice  as  Dickie, 
hit'll  surely  larn  by  bein'  here  with  him." 

Beth  started  to  reply,  but  a  warning  finger  was 
held  up  for,  as  the  sunlight  flooded  Don's  cage, 
he  cocked  his  head  on  one  side. 

"  Hush,  he's  goin'  to  sing,"  whispered  Carol, 

At  that  instant,  Dickie,  with  an  eye  on  the  new- 
comer, broke  into  song,  so  joyous,  so  beautiful, 
that  even  Beth,  accustomed  to  wonderful  trills 
and  runs  from  the  fine  little  singer,  was 
astonished ;  while  as  for  Don,  he  looked  up  in 
evident  wonderment  and  envy.  He  had  never 
even  dreamed  of  such  music  before.  The  song  in 
his  own  throat  was  hushed  to  listen  and  marvel. 

"  Dickie's  pleased  to  see  Don,"  whispered  Beth 
fearing  that  it  might  not  be  real  polite  of  her  bird 
to  interrupt  the  visitor,  and  that  Carol  might  feel 

Carol  did  not  seem  to  mind.  She  smiled 
happily.  "  Don's  listenin'  to  larn.  Dickie'll 
give  him  lessons  all  the  time.  I'm  so  glad  ye're  to 
have  Don.     I " 

Beth  faced  her  with  determination  not  to  yield 
this  time. 

"  But  Carol,  I  can't  keep  your " 

Don  171 

"Oh,  yes,  yer  kin."  Carol  looked  at  her  so 
pleadingly  that  she  had  to  reassure  herself  that 
she  was  in  the  right  not  to  relent  a  little. 

"  My  maw  won't  be  bothered  with  Don ;  she 
says  I've  got  to  get  rid  of  him,  an'  hit'll  be  a  rale 
kindness  if  yer'll  keep  him  for  me.  I'd  hate  to 
let  him  fly  away." 

"  I  might  sell  him  for  you." 

"  Sell  him  ?  "  tears  rose  to  her  eyes,  and  affected 
also  her  voice.  "  I  love  him  too  much  fer  that. 
If  yer  won't  take  him  fer  me,  I'll  have  to  let  him 
go.  Please,  please  take  him,  I'd  miss  him  so  if  I 
bad  to  let  him  go." 

"  But  you'd  miss  him  if  I  took  him." 

"  Then  I'd  see  him  every  day,  an'  hit'll  be  a 
comfort  to  think  of  him  with  some  one  I  love. 
Yer  won't  make  me  cry  by  not  keepin'  him  ? 
Please,  please  let  Don  stay  fer  hit'll  make  me  an' 
him  rale  happy." 

What  could  Beth  do  in  the  face  of  such  insist- 
ent pleading  ?  However,  she  did  not  accept  out- 

"  I'll  keep  him  for  you  until  your  money  comes," 
she  said  for  she  had  grown  to  think  that  Carol 
was  to  have  the  money  she  so  confidently  ex- 
pected. "Your  mother  cannot  object  to  your 
having  him  then."  Then  she  added,  "  haven't 
you  a  doll,  Carol  ?  I've  never  seen  you  with  one 
of  your  own." 

"  Me  have  a  doll  ?  "  repeated  Carol.     "  I  never 

172  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

had  none,  but  I'll  have  all  I  want  when  I'm  rich. 
I'll  have  one  with  dark  curlin'  hair  like  yourn, 
an'  brown  eyes,  an'  I'll  dress  hit  like  a  lady." 

Beth  immediately  decided  to  send  to  Spartan- 
burg for  such  a  doll,  but  she  said  nothing  of  her 
intention  as  she  wished  it  for  a  surprise. 

The  following  morning,  Carol  was  over  earlier 
than  usual  to  see  how  her  pet  was  behaving. 

"  I  believe  Don's  homesick,"  announced  Beth 
in  greeting.  "  He  hasn't  sung  a  mite,  but 
Dickie's  very  happy  over  having  him  here.  He 
sings  almost  every  minute  of  the  time.  Just  hear 
him  now,  and  see  how  Don  watches  him." 

"  Don's  takin'  lessons,"  insisted  Carol.  "  Jes' 
as  I'm  goin'  to  do  when  we  get  our  money." 

Day  by  day,  Don  continued  his  unwonted 
silence,  and  Dickie  sang  most  of  the  time.  The 
coming  of  Don  taught  Dickie  a  word.  Beth 
felt  sorry  for  the  robin,  and  talked  to  him  quite 
a  little  calling  him  often  by  name.  She  did  not 
realize  that  Dickie  was  listening,  but  all  at  once 
he  commenced  calling,  "  Don,  Don." 

Sometimes  Beth  closed  the  windows  of  the 
library,  and  allowed  the  birds  a  taste  of  liberty. 
They  enjoyed  flying  around  the  room  immensely, 
but  when  tired  they  willingly  reentered  their 

One  morning  just  as  Beth  had  freed  the  birds, 
Carol  appeared  at  the  front  window.  Not 
observing  what  Beth  was  doing,  she  tried  the 

Don  173 

window  and,  finding  it  unlocked,  swung  it  open 
quietly,  and  was  inside  the  room  before  Beth 
noted  her. 

"  Oh,  Carol,  close  it,  close  it !  "  cried  Beth. 

Carol  sprang  back  to  do  as  she  was  bid,  but 
the  warning  came  too  late.  Out  through  the 
open  window  flew  Dickie.  Don  was  intent  on 
following,  but  Carol  slammed  the  window  shut 
just  in  time  to  save  him. 

Beth  sank  down  on  the  floor  in  a  heap,  and 
broke  into  a  storm  of  sobs.  "  Oh,  my  Dickie 
bird.  I'll  never  see  him  again.  Oh,  dear,  oh, 
dear ! " 

Carol  looked  completely  crushed.  ]N"ever  had 
she  been  more  scared. 

u  Yer'll  never  like  me  no  more,"  she  moaned, 
"  no  more  at  all." 

Beth  did  not  even  heed,  being  too  grieved  to 
think  of  anything  but  her  own  loss. 

A  flood  of  melody,  very  faint  because  of  the 
closed  windows,  attracted  Carol's  attention. 
Without  a  word,  she  managed  to  drive  Don  into 
his  cage,  then  went  toward  the  window. 

"  What  are  you  going  to  do  ? "  questioned 
Beth  through  her  sobs. 

"I'm  goin'  after  yer  bird." 

"  It's  no  use.  You  can't  catch  him.  I'll  never 
see  him  again." 

Nevertheless,  Carol  rushed  from  the  room. 
Beth  arose  and  walked  listlessly  out  on  the  piazza. 

174         -^  Mdid  of  the  Mountains 

High  up  in  one  of  the  pines  was  Dickie  sing- 
ing, ohj  so  joyously.  Carol  intended  to  climb  up 
after  the  bird,  but  he  caught  a  glimpse  of  his  pur- 
suer and  flew  on  to  the  next  tree.  Carol  chased 
after.  Dickie  swooped  down  on  a  rhododendron 
bush,  and  looked  back  as  much  as  to  say : 

"  Come  on,  little  girl.  It's  fun  to  have  you 
chase  me." 

Breathlessly,  she  accepted  the  challenge,  and 
Dickie  allowed  her  to  come  within  reaching 
distance.  Her  heart  was  in  tumult  at  thought 
of  capturing  the  bird,  and  cautiously  she  stretched 
out  her  hand.  In  fact  it  just  grazed  the  out- 
stretched wings,  and  then  with  a  chirrup  Dickie 
was  off  again.  On  and  on  he  led  her,  often 
allowing  her  to  come  so  near  that  escape  seemed 
improbable,  but  ever  the  bird  just  eluded  her 
outstretched  fingers. 

Meanwhile,  Beth  brought  Don  out  and  hung 
his  cage  in  Dickie's  place. 

"  If  one  had  to  go,  why  couldn't  it  have  been 
the  silent  one,"  she  wondered,  and  tears  still 
trembled  on  her  lashes. 

The  robin  looked  around  as  if  seeking  the 
mocking-bird,  but  the  rival  songster  was  far 
away  by  this  time,  and  no  warbling  greeted  Don 
as  usual.  Suddenly  he  drew  his  little  body  to 
full  size  and  his  throat  swelled.  Low  and  sweet 
he  broke  forth  into  song.  At  first  his  notes 
trembled    on    the    air    as  if    he  feared   to   be 

Don  175 

silenced,  but  when  he  found  that  no  master's 
song  was  to  drown  his  effort,  he  gained  courage. 
His  notes  deepened  and  flowed  forth  with  as 
much  sweetness,  with  almost  as  great  certainty, 
with  almost  as  much  triumph  as  had  Dickie's 
own.  Many  of  his  runs  and  trills  were  copied 
from  his  rival. 

Beth  almost  felt  as  if  her  mocking-bird  had 
returned.  She  stood  breathless  for  fear  the 
robin  would  become  silent  again. 

"  Oh,  if  Carol  could  only  hear,"  she  thought. 
"  It's  as  she  said.  Don  was  afraid  to  sing  until 
now,  but  he  has  been  taking  lessons  from  my 
bird.  I  do  wish  she  would  come  back.  She'll 
never  be  able  to  catch  Dickie.  She  thinks  I 
blame  her,  but  she  didn't  mean  to  let  him  go." 

All  morning  she  watched  for  Carol.  Never- 
theless, her  hitherto  unfailing  visitor  did  not 
return.  In  the  afternoon,  too,  she  waited  on  the 
porch,  only  to  be  disappointed  when  nightfall 
drove  her  into  the  house,  and  she  had  seen 
nothing  of  the  mountain  girl. 

Before  the  curtains  were  drawn,  Beth  stood 
by  her  window  a  moment  and  looked  longingly 
down  toward  the  hollow. 

If  her  eyes  could  have  pierced  the  twilight, 
she  would  have  seen  a  dejected  little  figure 
dragging  her  weary  feet  homeward.  All  day 
Carol  had  kept  up  the  pursuit,  and  only  at  dusk 
did  she  acknowledge  herself  defeated.     Near  her 

ly^         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

cabin  home,  she  sank  down  on  a  stone,  with 
faithful  Brune  still  beside  her. 

"  Brune,"  she  murmured  brokenly,  "  ye're 
the  only  one  who  loves  me." 

He  licked  her  hand  to  comfort  her  if  he  could. 
Carol  was  too  tired  and  too  dejected  to  feel 
intensely.  Her  eyes  burned,  but  the  tears  in 
them  were  dried  up. 

"  Hit's  no  use,  Brune,"  she  continued.  "  I 
love  her,  an'  would  do  anythin'  fer  her,  an'  I've 
hurt  her  dreadful.  The  only  thing  fer  us  to  do 
is  to  keep  'way,"  She  rose  as  if  there  was  no 
more  that  could  be  said  on  the  subject.  Then 
her  eyes  were  attracted  by  the  lamps  that  were 
being  lighted  in  the  house  on  the  hill.  Even 
through  the  trees,  she  caught  a  glimpse  of  Beth 
at  the  window,  and  the  numb  feeling  that 
checked  her  tears  gave  way. 

"Oh,  Brune  thar  she  air,"  she  sobbed,  "an' 
she'll  never  like  me  no  more  nohow.  Even 
when  our  money  comes,  I  cain't  be  like  her  no- 
ways. Hit  hain't  in  me  er  I  wouldn't  hurt  her 
dreadful  when  I  loves  her  so.  She  never  hurts 
me,  an'  she  don't  love  me  like  I  love  her.  She 
loved  Dickie  more  'n  she  ever  did  me.  We  must 
keep  'way,  Brune." 

Watching  until  Beth  pulled  down  the  shade, 
Carol  threw  herself  face  downward  on  the 
ground  feeling  as  if  she  was  being  barred  from 
Paradise,  and   there  she  lay  crying  hopelessly. 


An    Angel  of  Merc^ 

"  Let's  make  candy,"  suggested  Marian  one 
afternoon  when  she  and  Julia  were  sitting  on  the 

"  All  right,"  answered  Julia  enthusiastically. 
Thereupon  both  girls  proceeded  to  the  kitchen 
where  they  spent  a  busy  but  happy  hour 
in  the  mysteries  of  candy-making.  Bob,  a 
friend  of  Gustus  had  just  arrived  in  search  of 
Gustus  and  while  the  girls  were  letting  the 
candy  harden  on  the  floor  of  the  kitchen  shed, 
Gustus  burst  in. 

"  Miss  Marian,  Missy  Beth  wants  yo'  up  in 
her  room.  A  package  done  come  from  Spartan- 
burg," announced  Gustus  from  the  kitchen  door. 

Marian  and  Julia  both  sprang  up. 

"  It's  the  doll,"  they  cried,  forgetting  the  candy 
and  rushing  away  up-stairs. 

Gustus  and  Bob  both  eyed  the  candy  greedily. 
The  girls  had  cut  it  in  squares,  but  had  not  taken 
any  out 

"  Yo'  don't  specs  any,  do  yo',  yo'  sassy  nigger 
yo'  ?  "  demanded  Gustus  fiercely  of  Bob.     *'  I'll 

i8o         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

jes'  take  it  up-stairs,  an'  mebbe  dey'll  thinks 
yo'  guv  me  some.'' 

Up  from  the  floor  be  grabbed  the  two  plat- 
ters carrying  them  up  to  Beth's  room. 

She  had  just  taken  a  beautiful  doll  from  an 
express  box. 

"  Do  you  think  Carol  will  care  for  it  ?  "  she 
asked,  wistfully,  holding  out  the  doll  for  inspec- 

"  Like  it  ?  "  repeated  Marian.  "  Why,  she'll 
be  too  overcome  for  anything.  It's  the  prettiest 
doll  I  ever  saw." 

While  pleased,  Beth  was  still  heavy-hearted. 

"  She  hasn't  been  here  since  Dickie  flew  away, 
and  no  one  knows  how  much  I  miss  her,"  she 

Aloud  she  said  :  "  I'd  like  to  dress  the  doll  for 

"  I'll  help,"  promised  Marian,  impulsively. 

"  So  will  I,"  added  Julia. 

"  You're  awfully  good,  both  of  you,  and  I'd 
like  help  cutting  the  things  out,  but  I'd  rather 
make  them  all  by  myself." 

Gustus  considered  it  high  time  that  they  were 
noticing  him. 

"  If  it  hadn't  been  fur  me,  de  dogs  could  have 
eaten  all  dis  candy." 

^'  I'd  forgotten  all  about  it,"  cried  Marian,  and 
observing  his  hungry  look  added,  "  You  shall 
have  some  candy,  Gustus." 

>'  T   ■.^™' 

Let's  Make  Candy  " 

An  Angel  of  Mercy  181 

Materials  for  the  doll's  garments  were  hunted 
up,  and  soon  were  cut  out.  As  Mrs.  Davenport 
would  not  allow  Beth  to  work  too  steadily,  the 
doll  was  not  ready  for  a  week. 

"  How  am  I  to  get  it  to  her  ?  "  asked  Beth. 

"  Send  Gustus  down." 

Beth's  face  fell.  "  I  want  to  give  it  to  her 

So  they  decided  to  have  Gustus  ask  Carol  to 
come  up. 

"  Gustus,"  Beth  said  when  he  was  ready  to 
start  on  the  errand,  "  don't  say  a  word  about  the 

"  Bo  'deed.  Missy  Beth.  Yo'  ought  to  keep 
dat  fine  lady  doll  yo'  own  self."  He  was  some- 
what inclined  to  be  jealous  of  Carol. 

"  And  Gustus,  tell  her  that  I  don't  mind  much 
about  Dickie  now.  I  know  he's  enjoying  his 
freedom.  Every  once  in  a  while  I  hear  him  sing- 
ing in  the  woods." 

Gustus  nodded  his  head.  "  Dat's  so.  Missy 
Beth.  I  hears  him  too.  Shall  I  tell  her  'bout 
Don  ?  " 

"  Yes.  Tell  her  he  sings  almost  as  well  as 
Dickie  did.  That  will  bring  her  sure.  Hurry 
back,  Gustus." 

While  he  was  gone  she  thought  of  Carol,  and 
it  came  to  her  that  perhaps  it  was  more  than  the 
loss  of  the  bird  that  was  keeping  her  friend 

i82         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Maybe  their  money  has  come,  and  she's  wait- 
ing to  surprise  me,"  she  thought.  "  She  told  me 
that  some  day  she'd  come  up  here  dressed  so  fine 
I  wouldn't  know  her.  If  she  has  all  the  money 
she  says,  she  may  get  proud,  but  I  don't  believe 
it  of  Carol,  and  she'll  like  the  doll  even  if  she 
has  money." 

Her  heart  sank  when  she  noted  Gustus  return- 
ing alone. 

"  Where's  Carol  ? "  she  demanded  eagerly 
when  he   was   in   hailing  distance. 

"  Dunno,"  he  answered  stupidly.  "  She  didn't 
say  much.     De  doctor  was  thar." 

Beth  looked  startled.     "  She's  not  sick  ?  " 

"  Not  as  I  knowed  on,  'though  she  looked 
peaked  like,  an'  acted  powerful  queer.  Wouldn't 
tell  me  nothin'  nohow." 

"  Wouldn't  she  come  even  when  you  told  her 
I  wanted  her  ? "  repeated  Beth  more  grieved 
than  she  would  show. 

"  Said  she  moight  hav'  to  come  some  day. 
Dem  war  her  own  words." 

Pride  kept  Beth  from  sending  again.  Never- 
theless, when  two  more  days  passed  without  any 
sign  of  Carol,  Beth  was  not  only  mystified  but 
resolved  to  go  down  herself  as  soon  as  her 
mother   would   permit. 

"  I'll  ask  if  I  can't  go  to-day,"  she  thought  on 
the  third  morning  as  the  riders  departed. 

At  the  same  moment  Carol  sneaked  up  on  the 

An  Angel  of  Merc^  183 

steps,  and  dropped  down  on  the  topmost  one 
against  the  post.  She  would  not  face  Beth,  but 
in  a  fleeting  glimpse  that  Beth  caught,  Carol 
looked  older  and  seemed  unhappy. 

"  Hit's  come,"  she  announced. 

Beth  noted  that  she  wore  the  same  old  clothes, 
and  that  she  did  not  appear  triumphant.  In  fact 
her  whole  attitude  expressed  dejection  as  well  as 
her  voice,  notwithstanding  which  her  words  con- 
veyed only  one  possible  meaning  to  Beth. 

^'  What's  come  ?  Your  money  ? "  she  de- 
manded eagerly. 

Carol  shook  her  head  sadly,  without  a  word. 

Beth  could  not  imagine  why  Carol  acted  the 
way  she  did  unless  she  was  still  brooding  over 

"  Anyway,  she's  sad  over  something,  but  the 
doll  will  make  her  glad,"  she  thought  and  so  she 
brought  it  out. 

"  Isn't  this  a  pretty  doll,  Carol  ?  "  she  asked. 
"  I  dressed  her  aU  myself." 

Still  Carol  appeared  no  less  listless.  She  only 
gave  a  fleeting  glance  at  the  doll  nodding  her 

"  Do  you  like  it  ?  "  demanded  Beth  eagerly, 
thinking  that  she  was  overcome  with  the  gran- 
deur of  the  fine  iady. 

"  Hit  am  rale  peart-like,"  but  she  said  it  with  so 
little  enthusiasm  that  Beth  grew  impatient. 

"  I  think  you  might  say  something  nice  about 

184         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

it  after  I've  had  so  much  trouble  dressing  it. 
Wouldn't  you  like  to  own  this  doll  for  your  very 

Much  to  Beth's  surprise  and  disgust,  Carol 
shook  her  head. 

"  You  wouldn't  like  to  own  it  ?     Why  not  ?  " 

"  Hit's  only  for  fine  ladies  like  yer,"  she  mut- 

At  first  Beth  was  inclined  to  be  angry,  but 
Carol's  manner  was  so  puzzling  that  she  resolved 
to  fathom  the  mystery. 

"  You've  always  told  me  that  you  are  to  be  a 
fine  lady." 

All  at  once  Carol's  stolidity  gave  way,  and  she 
broke  into  a  passion  of  sobs.  Beth  hurried  to 
her  side. 

'•'•  Why,  Carol,  what's  happened  ?  " 

But  feelinff  so  overmastered  Carol  that  she 
could  not  answer.  Her  breath  came  in  gasps, 
while  tears  splashed  down  her  face  so  fast  that 
she  could  not  keep  them  wiped  away  though  she 

"  Hush,  hush,  dear.  If  you  tell  me,  it  may 
help  you,"  continued  Beth,  trying  to  comfort  her 
the  way  her  own  mother  comforted. 

"  I  hain't  never  to  be  no  lady,"  Carol  finally 
blurted  out.  "  We  uns  hain't  to  have  no  money, 
an'  we  hain't  none  at  all.  Paw  hain't  been  home 
fer  a  week.  When  he  hearn  the  news  hit  done 
druv  him  to  drink  worser  than  ever,  an'  maw's  sick. 

An  Angel  of  Merc^  185 

awful  sick,  an'  we've  got  a  three  days  old  little 
babby  gal  at  our  place.  We  hain't  no  food,  an' 
no  one'll  trust  us  now  that  we're  not  to  have 
money.  I  cum  to  see  if  yer  maw '11  let  me  do 
washin'  for  you  alls." 

Such  a  flood  of  misfortune  overcame  Beth. 
For  a  moment  she  could  think  of  no  comfort  to 
offer.  She  simply  stared  helplessly  at  Carol 
while  her  heart  sank  more  and  more.  The  idea 
of  such  a  young  girl  doing  washing  was  both 
ridiculous  and  pathetic. 

As  Beth  looked  from  the  poorly  clad  girl  to  the 
finely  dressed  doll  that  she  still  held,  she  re- 
pented having  spent  her  money  on  a  useless  gift. 
Kever  before  had  she  realized  that  Carol  could 
ever  be  in  actual  want  for  the  bare  necessities  of 
life.     Her  silence  made  Carol  more  miserable. 

"  I  wouldn't  have  cum  to  yer,  if  they  all  hadn't 
been  so  hungry  to  hum.  Do  yer  reckon  3"er 
maw '11  let  me  do  yer  washin'  ?  "  she  repeated. 

"  You  never  could  do  it.  You're  too  little," 
Beth  murmured. 

An  utterly  hopeless  look  settled  on  Carol's  face. 
She  did  not  shed  more  tears  as  Beth  fully  ex- 
pected, but  only  brushed  away  the  undried  ones 
on  her  woe-begone  face,  and  arose  to  go. 

"  Wall,  I  must  be  goin'.'* 

Beth  pushed  her  down  again  almost  roughly. 
"  Don't  you  dare  go,  Carol.  Wait  here,  and  I'll 
be  back  in  no  time." 

i86         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

If  the  house  had  been  on  fire,  she  could  have 
flown  no  faster  for  aid.  She  dropped  the  doll  on 
a  chair  and  rushed  on  toward  the  kitchen.  Her 
mother  was  not  home,  so  she  sought  her  faithful 

"  Maggie  !  Maggie  ! "  she  called. 

"  What  yo'  want,  honey  ?  "  demanded  Maggie 
from  the  kitchen. 

"  Come  here,  Maggie — in  the  library !  I  want 
you  immediately  ! "  and  when  her  mammy  re- 
sponded to  the  imperative  call,  Beth  added  breath- 
lessly, "  You  know  where  my  bank  is  and  I  want 
it  right  away." 

"  But  honey " 

Beth's  eyes  snapped.  She  was  in  such  a  hurry 
that  she  had  little  patience.  "Don't  stop  to 
question  me,  Maggie.  The  money's  my  very  own, 
and  I  shall  do  just  what  I  like  with  it,  so  get  it 
for  me,  there's  a  dear,  good  Maggie." 

Greatly  wondering,  Maggie  hunted  up  the 
bank  as  commanded. 

"  There's  a  dollar  and  a  half  in  it,"  said  Beth 
seizing  the  bank.  "I  had  papa  count  it  the 
other  night  after  I  paid  for  the  doll.  I  want  to 
get  every  cent  out,"  and  she  struggled  to  open 
it.  "  I  wish  papa  were  here.  He's  always 
opened  it,  and  I  don't  know  how  it's  worked. 
What  shall  I  do,  Maggie  ?  " 

"  Wait  'til  yo'  paw  comes  back." 

Beth    stamped  her  foot.     "I  can't   wait.     I 

An  Anget  of  Mercy  187 

must  have  some  money  this  very  minute.  Can 
you  lend  me  some,  Maggie?  I'll  pay  you  the 
minute  papa  comes." 

"  I'se  mighty  sorry,  precious  lamb,  but  I  done 
giv'  my  last  cent  to  yo'  paw  to  put  in  de  bank 
for  me.  I  'lowed  as  I  had  no  use  to  spend  it  up 

Beth  struofo^led  a  moment  more  over  the  bank 
and  then  gave  up  in  despair.  She  felt  ready  to 
cry.  ^'I  must  do  something.  She  said  they 
were  hungry.     What  shall  I  do  ?  "  she  thought. 

All  at  once,  she  swooped  down  on  Maggie  and 
held  her  as  if  fearing  she  might  vanish. 

"  We  have  things  charged  at  the  store,  don't 
we,  Maggie  ?  " 

"  Shure,  honey." 

Beth's  eyes  sparkled  more  than  ever.  "  I  want 
Gustus  to  go  over  to  the  store  for  me.  Do  hunt 
him  up  for  me ;  there's  a  dear,  dear  mammy." 
When  Beth  used  such  a  tone,  Maggie  had  never 
been  known  to  resist  her. 

"  Hump,  she's  up  to  somethin'  mighty  queer," 
muttered  Maggie  as  she  went  in  search  of  Gustus. 
"  Don't  reckon  I  should  be  a — a  partciple  to  her 

spendin'  her  money,  but "  she  finished  her 

soliloquy  by  shaking  her  head.  She  was  thinking 
that  Beth  was  not  easily  stopped  when  in  her 
present  mood. 

Hardly  was  the  door  closed  behind  Maggie  be- 
fore Beth  went  over  to  the  desk,  and,  taking  up 

i88         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

a  pencil  and  paper,  sat  down  to  figure  out  just 
what  to  send  for. 

In  her  excitement  she  began  gnawing  the 
pencil.  "  Let  me  see,  they  always  like  hominy — 
they  call  it  grits,"  and  she  wrote  on  her  paper : 

Grits,        -        -        -        -        .25 

Again  the  pencil  was  raised  to  her  mouth,  and 
her  forehead  was  puckered  in  thought.  Never 
had  she  solved  a  more  difficult  problem.  After  a 
moment  or  two  of  thought,  she  dashed  off  the 
following  list : 

Cornmeal,  -  -  -  .25 

Tea,          _  -  -  _  .25 

Sugar,      -  -  -  -  .15 

Bacon,      -  ~  -  -  .25 

Butter,     -  -  -  -  .20 

Bread,     -  -  -  -  .10 

Coffee,      -  ~  -  -  .20 

Potatoes,-  -  -  -  .20 

Then  she  drew  a  line  underneath  and  figured 
up,  but,  to  her  dismay  she  had  overspent  her 
amount.  The  poor  pencil  again  was  an  outlet  for 
her  overwrought  feelings. 

"  I  only  have  a  dollar  and  a  half,  I  know,"  she 
thought,  biting  viciously  on  the  pencil,  "  and  it 
comes  to  a  dollar  eighty  five.  Oh,  why  did  I  buy 
that  doll?  I  might  spend  more  than  I  have 
though,  for  I  could  make  it  up  to  papa  some  time. 
I'm  sure  to  be  given  more  money,  and  he  wouldn't 
mind.     He'd  give  me  the  money  himself." 

An  Angel  of  Mercp  189 

"  Gustus,  Gustus,  do  hurry,"  she  called,  hearing 
him  with  Maggie. 

"  Pm  comin',  Missy  Beth." 

She  hesitatingly  held  out  the  list  to  Gustus  as 
he  entered,  but  then  drew  it  back,  shaking  her 
head  solemnly. 

"  I  can't  do  it  much  as  I  want  them  to  have  the 
things,"  she  declared  to  herself.  "  It  wouldn't  be 
honorable.  I'm  not  sure  of  prices  anyway,  but 
Maggie  can  help  me  out." 

Before  consultino:  Mao:o:ie,  however,  she  walked 
to  the  door  to  make  sure  that  Carol  was  waiting. 
She  saw  her  still  sitting  dejectedly  by  the 

"  Carol,  I'll  be  out  in  a  moment.  Wait  for 
me,"  she  called. 

"Brune  an'  me'll  wait,"  answered  Carol  still 

Beth  turned  back  to  Maggie  who  had  returned 
even  more  slowly  than  Gustus. 

"Maggie,  listen  to  what  I'm  going  to  buy 
and  tell  me  what  I  can  leave  out  so  it  will  only 
come  to  a  dollar  and  a  half,"  and  before  Maggie 
had  chance  to  utter  a  word,  Beth  ran  over  her 
list.  "  You  see  it  comes  to  a  dollar  eighty  five, 
and  I  only  have  a  dollar  and  a  half,"  she  wound 
up  breathlessly. 

Maggie  was  completely  mystified.  "  Law 
honey,  we  hav'  all  dem  'gredients  in  de 
house " 

igo         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Didn't  I  tell  you  ?  They're  for  Carol's  folks. 
Her  mother  has  a  little  baby,  and  they  haven't  a 
thing  to  eat  in  the  house." 

"Hump,"  muttered  Maggie  who,  notwithstand- 
ing her  kindly  heart,  had  little  patience  with 
"  pooh  white  trash ."  "  Don't  yo'  let  'em  fool  yo', 
missy  dear.     Dey's  nothin'  but " 

"  Hush,  hush,"  cautioned  Beth.  "  Carol's  out 
there,  and  she'll  hear,  and  she's  proud." 

Her  words  inflamed  Maggie  more  and  more. 
"Proud  nothin'.  What  she  come  heyre  for  den 
an'  beg  all  my  tender-hearted  gal's  money " 

"  She  didn't  beg.  She  wanted  to  do  our  wash- 
ing, but  she's  too  small.  You  think  she's  too 
small,  don't  you,  Maggie  ?  " 

"  Dat  chile  do  our  washin'  ?  "  gasped  Maggie 
after  an  instant  of  silence.  "  She's  workin'  on 
yo'  feelin's,  dat's  all.  She  nebbeh  'lowed  to  do  it. 
Do  washin'  'deed.  I'm  jes'  goin'  out  to  tell  her 
what  I  think  of  sech  goings  on." 

Beth  made  a  dive  at  her  to  hold  her  back. 
"You  mustn't,  Maggie.  I  wouldn't  have  you 
hurt  her  feelings  for  the  world.  If  you  knew  all 
about  it  the  way  I  do,  your  heart  would  ache  for 
her  too.  We  must  help  her.  Why,  just  think, 
she  didn't  even  want  the  doll." 

"  Not  want  dat  beau'f ul  doll,"  repeated  Maggie, 

"  No,  she  said  it  was  too  fine  for  her." 

Such  action  upset  Maggie's  preconceived  idea 

An  Angel  of  Mercy  191 

of  Carol's  duplicity.  Half  mollified,  she  patted 
Beth  on  the  shoulder. 

'*  Well,  well,  dat's  monstrous  queeh.  Well  I 
nebbeh — but  yo'  jes'  wait  den,  till  Miss  Mary 
comes  back.     She " 

"  I  can't  wait,  Maggie.  You  must  tell  me 
what  to  leave  out.  Listen  very  carefully  while  I 
read  the  list  over." 

Maggie,  who  was  not  yet  entirely  won  over, 
kept  muttering  while  Beth  read,  "  Well  I  'clah  to 
goodness,  dat  chile  do  beat  all.  I  always  knovved 
she  was  soft-hearted,  but  I  didn't  know  she  could 
think  out  a  thin'  like  that  all  by  hehself." 

Nevertheless  she  paid  good  heed  to  Beth's  list 
and  at  the  end,  she  said : 

"  I  done  know  one  thin'  to  leave  out.  If  dese 
pooh  whites  hav'  grits,  dey  don't  care  for  pota- 

Beth  scratched  out  that  item.  After  a  mo- 
ment's figuring,  she  said : 

"  I've  fifteen  cents  too  much  yet.  Please  help 
me,  Maggie." 

''  Hump,"  ejaculated  Maggie  again,  but  added, 
"  Well,  well,  read  dem  thin's  over,  honey." 

"  Wait,"  she  interrupted  when  Beth  came  to 
the  sugar.  "  I  done  tole  yo'  what  we'll  do. 
Scratch  dat  out,  an'  I'll  giv'  yo'  some  sugar." 

Beth  was  pleased  but  doubtful.  "  Mamma 
would  give  it  to  me  if  she  were  here,  but  I  don't 
know  as  we  should  take  it  with  her  away." 

192  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains      v 

"  I'll  'sume  all  'sponsibility,"  declared  Maggie 
with  dignity. 

Whereupon  Beth  handed  to  Gustus  the  list 
with  the  sugar  scratched  out.  "  Have  them  fill 
it  out  at  the  store  and  charge  it.  I'm  going  to 
give  papa  my  money.  You  bring  the  things 
down  to  Carol's  yourself,  and  hurry  just  as  fast 
as  you  can.     I'll  be  waiting  there  for  you." 

Maggie,  who  had  started  to  go  for  the  sugar, 
paused  on  the  threshold  and  turned  a  still 
troubled  countenance  Beth's  way. 

"  'Deed,  honey,  an'  yo'  ain't  exspeculatin'  to  go 
down  thar  yo'self  ?  I  jes'  shouldn't  count'nance 
sech  proceedin's.  It  ain't  fittin',  an'  what's  moah 
it  am  a  long  ways  for  yo'  to  go.  Yo'  ain't 
walked  much  an'  I  done  feared  yo' " 

Beth  had  skipped  back  beside  Maggie  and  now 
patted  her  lovingly. 

"  Maggie,  I  must  go  and  it  will  not  hurt  me  in 
the  least,  so  please  don't  say  another  word ; 
there's  my  own  dear,  good,  kind  Maggie." 

"  Hump,  I  ain't  no  dear,  good,  kind  nuthin'," 
she  muttered  in  return,  but  Beth  had  gained  her 
own  way,  for  Maggie  flounced  out  of  the  room 
without  farther  protest.  Beth  hastened  out  on 
the  piazza. 

"  Come  on,  Carol,  I'm  going  down  to  see  the 

Carol  made  no  moA^e  to  rise.  She  did  not  even 
look  up  at  Beth  and  tears  were  trickling  down 

An  Angel  of  Mercy  193 

her  cheeks.     She  tried  to  brush  them  away  with- 
out Beth's  noticing  them  but  was  not  successful. 

"We  must  hurry,"  declared  Beth,  impatient 
of  more  delay. 

"  Don't  yer  come,"  cried  Carol  after  a  moment's 
hesitation.  "  Yer'd  never  hav'  nothin'  to  do 
with  me  agin.  Hit's  no  place  for  the  likes  of 
you  uns,"  and  her  tears  fell  faster. 

"I'm  your  friend,  Carol,  and  I  want  to  go 
down  with  you,"  whispered  Beth,  consolingly. 

Still  Carol  did  not  rise,  but,  hiding  her  face  in 
her  hands,  sobbed,  "I'm  'shamed  of  the  dirt. 
The  others  are  too  young  to  work,  an'  hit  takes 
all  my  time  to  care  fer  the  baby  an'  maw.  Hit's 
powerful  dirty.  I  didn't  think  much  'bout  hit 
'til  I  met  you  uns.     You  mustn't  go  thar." 

"  I  am  going  down,  so  that's  all  there  is  about 

Such  persistence  conquered  Carol  who,  without 
a  word,  arose.  Maggie  now  returned  with  the 
sugar  whereupon  the  two  girls  started  down  the 
hill,  Brune  leading  the  way.  So  absorbed  was 
the  mountain  girl  in  her  own  troubles  that  she 
forgot  that  Beth  might  still  be  weak  from  her 
sickness,  and  so  she  walked  at  such  a  rapid  pace 
that  Beth  lost  breath  trying  to  keep  up  with  her. 

"  Carol,  I  can't  go  so  fast,"  she  panted  finally. 

All  contrition,  Carol  stopped  still.  "I  never 
onct  thought  as  how  yer  hadn't  walked  much. 
Sit  down  and  rest." 

194  -^  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Beth  shook  her  head.  "  I'll  be  all  right  if  we 
walk  slower,  but  now  I'm  wobbly  all  over." 

"  Yer  jes'  lean  on  me.     Yes,  yer  must." 

Her  aid  proved  very  acceptable  for  Beth  was 
weaker  than  she  thought.  At  the  spring  her 
strength  gave  out  completely  so  that  she  sank 
down  on  a  rock  to  rest.  Carol  was  greatly  con- 
cerned. She  gathered  some  of  the  clear,  running, 
ice  cold  water  in  her  rough  hands  and  bathed 
Beth's  forehead. 

"  That  is  very  nice,"  murmured  Beth.  "  I'd 
like  a  drink  of  it." 

"  Thar's  nothin'  but  a  gourd  to  drink  from." 

Assured  that  Beth  liked  a  gourd,  Carol  leaned 
over  the  spring  to  get  her  a  drink.  Beth  watched 
with  much  interest.  Her  breath  had  returned 
and  with  it  her  strength. 

"  Why  didn't  you  tell  me  how  beautiful  it  is 
down  here,  Carol  ?  " 

Still  kneeling,  Carol  turned  a  surprised  face 
her  way.  "  I  never  knowed  hit  war  beautiful. 
Thar's  jes'  these  wild  things  growin'  all  'round 
like  they  do  every whar,  an'  the  water  jes'  flows 
out  through  the  rock  onto  some  more  rock.  I 
always  liked  hit  an'  hit  makes  me  feel  like  singin' 
lots  of  times  'cause  hit's  so  happy — the  stream 
thar  I  mean,  but  I  never  'lowed  as  how  other 
people  like  you  uns  would  care  for  it,"  she  added 
as  she  brought  the  water  for  Beth  to  drink. 

Greatly  refreshed,  Beth  arose  ready  to  go  for- 

An  Angel  of  Merc^  195 

ward.  She  knew  that  her  strength  would  last 
out  now,  as  Carol  had  said  they  were  most  there. 

Through  the  trees  she  saw  a  cleared  space, 
but  the  only  sign  of  a  habitation  was  a  tumble- 
down log  hut.  At  first  Beth  thought  it  too 
wretched  a  hovel  to  be  the  dwelling-place  of  any 
human  being,  and  then  she  noted  a  number  of 
children  near  the  open  doorway. 

^*  Are  they  neighbors  of  yours  ?  "  she  asked 

Carol  hung  her  head.  "  That's  whar  we  uns 
live,"  she  muttered. 

"  You  live  there  ?  "  repeated  Beth.  She  was 
so  shocked  that  even  with  all  her  desire  not  to 
hurt  Carol,  she  could  not  help  showing  somewhat 
how  she  felt. 

"  I  tole  yer  not  to  come,"  said  Carol,  half  sob- 

"Don't  cry,  Carol.  I'm  glad  I  came.  Let's 
hurry,"  she  added  in  hopes  of  diverting  Carol, 
which  she  succeeded  in  doing,  for  Carol  sprang 
forward  to  assist  Beth  and  the  two  made  their 
way  to  the  cabin. 

The  children  stared  open-mouthed  at  the 
stranger  with  their  sister.  The  youngest  child, 
still  holding  a  lump  of  something  that  she  had 
taken  from  her  mouth,  sidled  up  to  Beth  and 
lisped,  "  I'se  so  hungry." 

Beth  could  not  take  her  eyes  from  the  lump  in 
the  child's  hand. 

196         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"Carol,  what's  she  been  eating?"  she  asked. 

"  Clay,"  answered  Carol  laconically. 

"  Clay  ? "  gasped  Beth.  She  had  heard  of 
clay  eaters  in  the  mountains,  but  had  never  be- 
lieved that  people  really  ate  clay  until  she  saw 
with  her  own  eyes  the  child  eating  it.  "Oh, 
Carol,  it's  dreadful." 

"  I  reckon  hit  am,"  she  agreed.  "I  never  ate 
hit.  Hit  makes  people  all  dried  up.  They  jes' 
hain't  any  blood  at  all.  She  never  eat  hit  nother 
'til  now,  but  I  can't  stop  her.  The  others  are 
takin'  to  hit,  too.  They  hain't  quite  so  hungry 
when  they  eat  hit." 

Tears  came  into  Beth's  eyes.  "  I  wish  Gustus 
would  come,"  she  thought.  Then  she  kneeled 
down  beside  the  little  toddler.  "  Give  it  to  me," 
she  demanded,  holding  out  her  hand  to  take  the 
clay,  "  and  you  shall  have  something  to  eat  in  a 
moment  or  two — something  nice."  She  turned 
to  the  others  who  were  still  staring  at  her. 
"  Never  eat  any  more  clay,  and  I'll  see  that  you 
have  plenty  to  eat  all  the  time,"  she  promised 

They  were  all  so  overawed  by  her  appearance 
and  words  that  they  only  continued  to  stare. 
The  little  toddler,  however,  understood  her 
meaning  sufficiently  to  relinquish  the  clay. 

"  Me  have  somethin'  nice  to  eat.  Pretty  girl 
say  so,"  she  murmured. 

An  Angel  of  Merc^  1 97 

"  Hit  hain't  become  a  habit  with  urn  yet  like 
with  some,"  explained  Carol.  "I  reckon  they 
won't  eat  no  more  if  they  have  food." 

Beth  felt  sick  all  over.  She  dreaded  to  go  in- 
side the  cabin,  but  would  not  turn  back. 

"  Had  I  better  see  the  baby  now  ?  " 

*'Maw,  here's  the  young  lady  from  up  on  the 
hill  to  see  yer,"  called  Carol. 

*'  Come  right  in,"  answered  a  feeble  voice  from 

"  Yer  all  wait  here,"  said  Carol  to  the  children, 
and  then  she  led  Beth  within. 

Apparently  there  was  but  one  room  to  the 
shanty.  As  Beth  glanced  around  the  disordered 
place,  she  vaguely  wondered  where  all  those 
children  outside  slept.  Plenty  of  dirt  was  in 
evidence  as  Carol  had  predicted,  but  Beth  hardly 
noted  it.  Her  eyes  were  immediately  attracted 
to  a  dilapidated  bed  in  the  corner  on  which  lay  a 
woman  old  with  care  more  than  with  years.  In 
her  weary  thin  arms  was  a  puny  baby  which 
whimpered  fretfully.  The  woman's  eyes  were 
unnaturally  large  but  sunken.  A  new  light 
leaped  into  them  as  their  gaze  fastened  in  wistful 
earnestness  on  Beth's  face. 

"  Did  Carol  tell  yer  all  'bout  us  ?  "  she  cried 
eagerly  raising  herself  on  her  elbow.  The  baby's 
whimper  changed  to  a  cry,  and  the  light  faded 
from  the  mother's  eyes. 

igS         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Hit's  awful  hungry,"  she  explained,  "  but  I 
can't  give  hit  any  thin'  myself  and  we  hain't  any 
milk  in  the  house." 

Beth's  heart  sank  because  she  had  ordered  no 

*'  Carol,"  she  whispered  after  a  moment's 
hesitation,  "  go  up  to  the  house  and  get  a  pitcher 
of  milk.     Tell  Maggie  I  sent  for  it." 

Her  least  wish  was  a  command  to  Carol  who 
hastened  to  fulfill  her  order. 

With  Carol  gone,  Beth  felt  more  uncomfort- 
able than  ever.  She  sat  down  on  a  rickety  chair 
not  knowing  what  to  say  or  do.  The  mother 
would  have  talked  to  her  had  not  her  babe 
claimed  her  entire  attention.  It  quieted  from  a 
cry  to  a  moan,  but  this  proved  so  pitiful  that  Beth 
finally  could  stand  it  no  longer. 

"  Shall  I  walk  up  and  down  with  it  ?  "  she 
asked  timidly,  rising  and  going  over  to  the  bed. 

"That  would  be  powerful  kind,"  answered 
Mrs.  Corn  well  completely  worn  out  herself. 

Nice,  clean  babies  were  the  only  kind  Beth 
had  ever  known  and  she  thought  she  loved  all 
babies.  But  this  one  was  not  clean ;  in  fact  it 
was  repellently  dirty.  As  the  mother  held  it 
out  toward  her,  she  shrank  back  slightly,  almost 
ready  to  withdraw  her  offer,  but  she  was  entirely 
too  kind-hearted  to  intentionally  hurt  any  one, 
so,  overcoming  her  momentary  weakness,  she  took 
the  poor,  little  moaning  waif  to  her  heart.     Back 

An  Angel  of  Mercy  199 

and  forth,  back  and  forth,  she  walked,  humming 
a  lullaby.  She  was  not  much  of  a  singer,  but 
her  charge  soon  quieted  under  such  soothing 

"  I  think  she's  asleep,"  she  whispered,  stopping 
by  the  bed  for  her  arms  ached  and  she  was  faint. 

*' I'll  take  her,"  but  when  Beth  started  to  place 
the  baby  beside  its  mother,  it  began  to  whimper 

"Perhaps  I'd  better  keep  her.  I'll  bring  a 
chair  over  beside  you,  and  perhaps  I  can  keep 
her  quiet  sitting  down." 

The  plan  worked  well  for  Beth  patted  the 
baby  as  it  lay  on  her  lap  and  soon  it  quieted 

"We've  brought  a  sight  of  trouble  on  our- 
selves," said  the  sick  woman  speaking  to  Beth  as 
she  might  have  to  a  grown  person,  and  then  ex- 
plained, "  I  had  a  better  eddication  than  I've 
been  able  to  give  any  of  my  young  uns,  an'  when 
we  'lowed  as  how  we  were  to  have  money,  their 
paw  an'  I  reckoned  as  how  hit  would  make  ladies 
an'  gentlemen  of  'era.  We  didn't  'low  'em  to 
'sociate  with  any  one  here'bouts,  an'  now  we're 
bein'  paid  back  for  bein'  so  proud-like.  None  of 
'em  cum  to  help  now  that  we  need  help,"  and  she 
sighed  pitifully. 

No  word  of  comfort  suggested  itself  to  Beth. 
She  felt  very  helpless,  but  had  she  only  known 
how  soothed  the  poor,  burdened  woman  was  just 

200         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

to  speak  of  her  trouble,  Beth  would  have  been 
relieved,  too. 

"  God  alone  knows  what's  to  become  of  we 
uns,"  continued  Mrs.  Cornwell  fretfully.  "  I'm 
'bout  tuckered  out,  an'  Carol  " — her  voice  broke, 
"  I  hates  to  think  on  her.  Onct  she  an'  I  'lowed 
as  how  she  wuz  to  be  a  singer.  I  usen  to  sing  at 
meetin'  myself  when  I  wuz  a  gal  in  Al'bama,  an' 
Carol  has  my  voice  only  sweeter  an'  stronger 

"  Perhaps  Carol  can  sing  then,"  thought  Beth, 
but  the  baby  began  to  cry  again  so  that  poor 
worried  Beth  had  to  walk  the  floor  once  more. 
With  all  her  heart  she  wished  that  Gustus  and 
Carol  would  come.  The  waiting  seemed  an  eter- 
nity to  her. 


Beth' s  Plan 

"  Whar's  my  Missy  Beth  ?  "  were  the  words 
that  finally  brought  comfort  to  the  self-con- 
stituted little  nurse  who  placed  the  now  sleeping 
child  beside  its  mother. 

"Come  right  in,  Gustus,"  she  called.  "Put 
the  things  over  there,"  she  added  as  he  came  in, 
pointing  to  a  table  in  the  corner  of  the  room  near 
the  fireplace. 

"  Whew,"  ejaculated  Gustus  as  he  deposited 
his  load.  "  I  done  reckon  dey  put  in  stones  wid 
dese  things.     My  arms  shurely  ache." 

Beth  looked  around  the  place  for  a  cook-stove 
but  failed  to  discover  one. 

"  Where  do  you  do  your  cooking  ?  "  she  asked 
of  Mrs.  Corn  well. 

"  On  the  open  fire  thar.  Yer  kin  have  the  boy 
call  to  one  of  the  young  uns  to  bring  in  some 
logs  an'  start  a  fire,  an'  by  the  time  Carol's 
back  hit'll  be  goin'."  She  accepted  the  present 
of  food  as  a  matter  of  course,  but  Beth  did  not 
mind,  she  was  so  pleased  in  the  doing. 

Soon  the  fire  was  blazing  on  the  hearth,  and 
then  Carol  came  and  Beth  was  overjoyed  to 
behold  Maggie  come  panting  in  behind  her. 

204         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Oh,  Maggie,  how  good  of  you ! "  she  cried 
and  there  was  a  catch  in  her  voice  from  very 

Maggie's  face  beamed  too.     "  I  jes'  'lowed  as 

how  yo'  might  need  me,  honey.     I  done  come 

jes'  on  yo'  'count."     She  sniffed  contemptuously. 

She  did  not  wish  Beth  to  think  she  would  bemean 

herself    by    running   after  "pooh  white  trash." 

'*  'Sides  de  milk,  here  am  some  eggs  an'  soup  broth 

dat'U  be  good  for  de  sick  woman." 

Beth  would  have  given  the  milk  to  the  baby 
cold,  but  Maggie  knew  better  and  warmed  it. 

One  by  one  the  children  sneaked  into  the  room, 
the  smell  of  food  attracting  them.  Poor,  starv- 
ing things,  they  could  not  keep  away  although 
Carol  ordered  them  out  several  times.  "  Wait  'til 
ve're  called,"  she  said.  Beth  who  could  not 
stand  the  sight  of  their  greedy  eyes  spread  a 
number  of  slices  of  bread  with  sugar  sprinkled 
over,  and  gave  each  child  a  piece,  even  to  Carol 
wlio  was  as  famished  as  any  of  them. 

"  More,  more,"  lisped  the  little  toddler  who  had 
thrown  away  the  clay.  She  had  devoured  the 
last  crumb  and  was  still  starved. 

Beth  stooped  over  and  kissed  her  unmindful  of 

"  You  must  wait,  dearie.  Maggie  is  cooking 
something  nice  for  you  all." 

"  Girl  hungry  ? "  questioned  the  little  one 
feeling  a  tear  on  her  face  that  Beth  had  shed. 

Beth' s  Flan  205 

Meantime  Maggie  had  heated  the  broth  for  the 
sick  woman,  and  had  taken  it  to  her. 

"  Hit'll  give  me  strength  so's  I  kin  work  fer 
my  young  uns,"  she  murmured  gratefully  to 
Maggie.  "  An'  the  milk  has  chirked  her  up  al- 
ready. The  baby'd  have  died  if  you  alls  hadn't 

Maggie  felt  a  tear  in  her  own  eye.  Her  prej- 
udices vanished  as  she  worked  for  them,  but  she 
bustled  back  to  the  fireplace  to  hide  her  emotion, 
and  stirred  the  kettle  of  grits  that  was  now 
steaming.  When  it  was  about  ready  she  began 
frying  the  bacon  and  its  savory  odor  filled  the 
place,  and  the  children  clustered  nearer  and 
nearer  around  the  hearth. 

Beth  would  have  set  the  table  but  there  was 
no  cloth  to  spread,  and  no  dishes  except  a  few 
cracked  ones,  and  then  there  were  not  nearly 
enough  chairs  to  go  round,  so  all  the  children  sat 
on  the  floor  each  with  a  spoon,  but  eating  out  of 
the  one  dish. 

As  Beth,  with  shining  eyes,  eyed  the  little 
crowd,  she  marveled  how  they  could  eat  so  much. 
They  scraped  the  dish  clean  and  not  a  piece  of 
the  bacon  did  they  leave,  except  for  Carol  who 
saved  a  share  of  her  helping  for  Brune.  Beth 
immediately  resolved  to  send  some  dog  meat  to 
the  faithful  fellow. 

"  Maggie,- '  whispered  Beth  when  the  rest  of 
the  provisions  had  been  placed  away  for  future 

2o6         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

use,  "  couldn't  we  wash  the  baby  ?  She  needs  a 
bath  dreadfully." 

By  this  time,  Maggie  was  warmed  up  to  any 
undertaking.  She  placed  water  in  the  kettle  to 
heat  and  then  turned  to  Carol. 

"  Has  yo'  a  tub  ?  Missy  Beth  'sires  to  wash 
de  baby  an'  she  mus'  be  washed." 

Carol  was  doubtful  of  such  an  undertaking, 
but  if  Beth  wished  it,  she  thought  it  must  be  all 
right,  so  she  hunted  up  an  old  tub. 

The  children  watched  rounder  eyed  than  ever 
while  the  bath  was  being  prepared  as  if  they 
thought  the  ceremony  about  to  be  performed 
some  heathen  rite. 

"  Yer  don't  s'pose  hit'll  make  her  take  cold  ?  " 
questioned  Mrs.  Corn  well,  anxiously,  as  Beth  her- 
self undressed  the  baby. 

"  Cold  nothin',"  sniffed  Maggie,  running  her 
arm  into  the  tub  to  make  sure  the  temperature  of 
the  water  was  just  right.  "  When  she's  clean, 
she'll  be  a  dif'runt  chile  shure.  Hand  her  to  me 
now,"  she  added  to  Beth. 

Beth  would  have  liked  to  help  with  the  bath, 
but  Maggie,  who  felt  herself  the  high  priestess  of 
the  occasion,  would  have  no  aid. 

"  Go  'long,  honey,  yo'  ain't  strong  'nough  fer 
sech  work,"  she  declared,  and  all  Beth  could  do 
was  to  stand  by  and  watch.  However,  she 
managed  to  save  the  little  toddler  from  a  wetting 
for  it  was  so  curious,  it  would  have  fallen  into 

Beth' s  Flan  207 

the  tub  with  the  baby  if  Beth  had  not  grabbed 


When  the  baby  was  finally  raised  from  the 
tub,  it  seemed  a  different  child  as  Maggie  had 
predicted.  It  was  so  nice  and  clean  that  Beth 
only  regretted  not  having  some  new  clothes  for  it. 

"  Dis  room  ought  to  be  cleaned  foh  we  go," 
declared  Maggie  when  once  more  the  baby  was 
placed  beside  her  mother.  '*  Yo'  wait  outside 
while  Carol  an'  me  brushes  up  a  bit,"  she  said  to 

"  I'll  do  nothing  of  the  sort,"  answered  Beth 
firmly.  "  I'm  going  to  help,"  and  though  Maggie 
objected,  it  was  of  no  use. 

"I  ain't  no  words  to  thank  yer,"  said  Mrs. 
Corn  well  when  Beth  and  Maggie  were  ready  to 
depart.     "  But  I've  a  favor  to  ask." 

*'  What  is  it  ?  "  asked  Beth,  fearing  she  could 
not  grant  it  now  that  all  her  money  was  gone, 
but  she  decided  to  ask  her  father  for  help. 

"  I  thought  some  of  callin'  the  little  gal  here, 
Elvira  'cause  hit's  sech  a  romantic  name,  but  now 
I'd  like  to  name  her  after  yer,  if  yer  don't  mind. 
What  is  yer  name  in  full  ?  " 

"  Elizabeth  Davenport." 

"  If  yer  don't  mind,  then,  I'd  call  her  'Liz  'beth 
Davenport  Cornwell." 

The  idea  of  such  a  namesake  completely  over- 
whelmed Beth  who  felt  a  new  responsibility 
about  the  child. 

2o8         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Do  you  really  wish  to  name  her  after  me  ?  " 
she  asked. 

"  I  do,  an'  yer'll  surely  come  agin  to-morrow 
as  yer  promised  to  see  'Liz'beth  an'  me  ?" 

Outside  Carol  had  something  to  say  on  the 
subject.  "  At  first  I  didn't  want  the  baby,"  she 
confessed.  "  I  didn't  see  how  we  uns  could  care 
f  er  hit  when  thar  war  so  many  of  we  uns  already, 
but  then  hit  war  so  helpless,  an'  hit  clung  to  me 
so  that  I  couldn't  help  takin'  to  hit  some.  An' 
now  that  hit's  to  be  called 'Liz' beth  after  yer,  I'll 
jes'  dote  on  hit." 

Beth  was  very  weary.  Even  listening  to  Carol 
tired  her  more.  She  clung  to  Maggie's  hand  and 
looked  up  at  the  long  hill  that  still  had  to  be 
climbed.  Now  that  excitement  no  longer  lent 
her  strength,  the  return  trip  home  seemed  a 
terrible  undertaking. 

"  Good-bye  Carol,  I'll  be  down  to-morrow,"  she 
promised  listlessly. 

"  Look  thar,"  exclaimed  Carol.  "  Thar  comes 
the  young  gentleman." 

Beth  looking  in  the  direction  in  which  she 
pointed  saw  Harvey  on  Bueur  coming  leisurely 
toward  them. 

"  Hello,"  he  called.  "  I  heard  you  were  down 
here,  and  thought  I'd  find  out  what  you  were 
up  to." 

"  I  know  what  I'd  like  to  be  up  to,"  thought 
Beth,  eyeing  Rueur  wistfully. 

Beth' s  Plan  209 

"  "Why,  Beth,  you  look  completely  "worn  out," 
remarked  Harvey  as  he  sprang  down  beside 
them.     "  You  must  ride  up  the  hill." 

Her  tired  face  flushed  in  sudden  pleasure. 
"  Oh,  how  nice  that  will  be.  My  very  first  ride 
on  my  mule,  too.  But  how  can  I  ever  get  up  on 
his  back  ?  " 

"  Shure,  honey,  dat's  easy.  I'll  lift  yo'.  Yo' 
weight'd  be  no  more  dan  feathers  to  me,"  and 
Maggie  picked  her  up  and  placed  her  on  Rueur. 

"  Good-bye,  Carol,"  said  Beth  the  second  time, 
but  with  enthusiasm  now.  She  even  waved  her 
disengaged  hand  as  the  mule  started  up  the  hill 
with  her.  Harvey,  Maggie  and  Gustus  walked 
beside  her. 

"  What  have  you  been  doing  ? "  questioned 
Harvey.  Beth  placed  a  finger  on  her  lips,  but 
Maggie  would  not  heed  the  warning. 

"  She's  done  been  a  little  angel  ob  mercy,  dat's 
what  she's  been  for  shure." 

"  Oh,  pshaw,"  murmured  Beth.  "  Don't  you 
listen  to  her,  Harve.  I'll  tell  you  all  about  it  up 
at  the  house.  I  only  did  what  anybody  would 
have  done." 

"  Anybody  done,"  muttered  Maggie.  *'  Law, 
honey,  dar's  lots  ob  common  trash  in  dis  world." 

"You're  not  of  that  kind,  Maggie.  I  don't 
know  what  I'd  have  done  without  you  to-day." 
Her  eyes  were  slightly  dim. 

Maggie's  face  beamed,  but  she  too  muttered, 

210         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"Oh,  pshaw,  honey.  Don't  yo'  listen  to  her, 
Massa  Harve." 

The  rest  of  the  way  up  the  hill  Beth  was 
planning  for  the  family  in  the  hollow. 

"  I  might  giv^e  Carol  a  hen  and  a  rooster  and 
some  eggs  for  the  hen  to  set  on  to  raise  chickens. 
It'll  look  nice  to  see  chickens  about  the  place,  and 
we  can  send  down  and  buy  chickens  and  eggs 
from  them.  In  time  they  can  make  lots  of 
money  that  way." 

At  the  house  she  called  a  council  of  war  when 
she  found  that  all  the  family  had  returned. 
After  telling  her  afternoon's  experience,  she  said: 

"  We've  got  to  do  something  for  them  'specially 
after  the  baby's  named  for  me.  I  thought  of 
something  we  might  do  and  I  want  to  know 
what  you  think  of  my  plan.  How  would  it  do 
to  get  up  a  benefit  for  the  family,  and  give  them 
the  proceeds?  I  know  the  people  up  at  the 
hotels  would  come  when  they  heard  what  the 
entertainment  was  for.  Then  there'd  be  all  the 
town  people  besides." 

"  Let's  have  a  circus,"  proposed  Harvey. 

A  circus  appealed  to  adventurous  Beth. 
"We'll  teach  the  dogs  to  perform,  and  we  can 
ride  Kueur  and  the  horses." 

"  I'll  not  have  any  of  you  risking  your  necks 
riding.  You  can  teach  the  dogs  tricks  if  you 
wish,"  answered  Mrs.  Davenport. 

Great  were  the  schemes  as  to  what  should  be 

Beth' s  Flan  211 

done.  The  most  improbable  things  were  sug- 
gested, but  out  from  the  mass  of  ideas  set  forth,  the 
determination  grew  to  give  the  entertainment. 
Even  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Davenport  approved  the 

"  I  wish  we  could  have  Carol  take  part,"  said 
Beth.  "  It  would  seem  then  as  if  she  were 
helping  herself.  I  think  she's  proud,  and  the  idea 
of  charity  hurts  her." 

"  A  good  idea,  Beth,"  answered  Mr.  Daven- 
port. "I  always  believe  in  helping  people  to 
help  themselves." 

^'  But  what  under  the  sun  can  Carol  do  ? " 
questioned  Marian. 

"  I'll  think  up  something  for  her,"  announced 

The  entertainment  was  uppermost  in  all  their 
thoughts  for  days  thereafter.  They  planned  to 
have  something  that  would  be  more  unique  than 
the  ordinary  church  affairs  that  were  sometimes 
given  in  the  town.  At  first  it  was  deemed 
impossible  to  carry  out  Harvey's  suggestion  of 
having  the  entertainment  outdoors. 

<'  Why  any  one  could  come,  and  needn't  pay  if 
they  were  dishonorable,"  declared  Marian. 

"Let's  put  them  on  their  honor,"  cried  Beth 
who  was  always  for  trusting  people.  "  I  know 
just  the  place  where  we  could  have  it.  There's 
an  open  space  all  around  Carol's  cabin.  Why  not 
have  it  down  there  right  in  sight  of  the  people 

212         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

we're  going  to  benefit  ?  Let's  go  down  and  have 
a  look  at  it.  I've  got  to  go  down  and  see  them 
anyway."  It  was  her  habit  now  to  make  daily 
visits,  and  many  a  basket  of  necessities  had  found 
their  way  to  the  cabin  through  her,  and  she  had 
already  started  Carol  in  the  chicken  raising 

Down  into  the  hollow  the  four  hastened.  The 
place  impressed  them  all  as  a  fitting  spot  for 
their  show.  The  pines  had  been  hewn  down 
leaving  a  clearing  larger  than  they  would  need. 

"  The  dogs  can  perform  here  all  right,"  said 
Harvey  who  had  taken  their  training  upon  him- 

"  It's  a  shame  that  mamma  will  not  let  us  ride. 
It  would  be  grand  to  perform  bareback  the  way 
they  do  in  the  circus,"  and  Beth  sighed  regret- 
fully because  her  mother  had  remained  firm  in 
barring  riding  from  their  plans.  Mrs.  Davenport 
knew  too  well  the  adventurous  spirit  of  the 
children  to  allow  anything  so  risky. 

"  What  would  we  do  for  seats  ?  "  asked  Julia. 

"  They  have  benches  in  the  church  on  the  hill 
back  of  us.  Maybe  we  could  borrow  them," 
suggested  Marian. 

"  I'll  ask  for  them,"  answered  Beth,  and  that 
very  day  she  went  to  interview  the  minister  on 
the  subject. 

"  You  can  take  them  if  you  have  any  way  of 
getting    them    there    and    back,"   he  promised 

Beth' s  Plan  213 

after  hearing  the  object  for  which  they  were  to 
be  used.  Whereupon  Beth  secured  her  father's 
consent  that  on  the  morning  of  the  eventful  day, 
Rueur  be  hitched  to  a  wagon  and  that  he  would 
have  one  of  the  men  working  for  him  haul  the 

"  What  will  you  do  if  it  rains  ?  "  questioned 
her  father. 

Beth  had  not  even  taken  into  consideration 
such  a  catastrophe. 

"  That  would  spoil  everything,  but  we'll  not 
think  for  a  moment  that  we  could  have  such 
awful  luck,"  she  added  with  her  usual  optimism. 

The  next  question  that  came  up  was  whether 
they  should  have  any  outside  help  to  amuse  their 

Mrs.  Davenport  settled  the  matter  for  them. 
"  If  you  are  sufficient!}^  smart  to  think  up  amuse- 
ment without  grown-up  people  taking  part,  it 
will  prove  more  interesting,"  she  said,  "  and 
you'll  make  more  money  too,  I  believe." 

^'  How  much  shall  we  ask  ? "  demanded 

''  Do  not  have  any  set  price,"  she  suggested. 
"  Let  people  give  what  they  wish."  This  advice 
was  also  accepted. 

Harvey  had  the  three  dogs,  Duke,  Watch,  who 
had  greatly  improved  with  the  kindness  that  was 
showered  upon  him  at  the  Davenports,  and 
Brune    in    training    even    before   the    children 

214         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

decided  what  parts  they,  themselves,  would 
attempt.  Every  morning  he  went  down  into  the 
hollow  with  them,  and  his  most  interested  spec- 
tator was  Beth,  who  never  failed  to  be  with 
him  to  note  how  well  they  were  doing. 

"  I  had  no  idea  they  could  be  taught  so  much. 
I  don't  believe  I'd  ever  have  had  the  patience  to 
teach  them.  It  takes  heaps  of  patience,"  said 
Beth  one  morning. 

"  Well  I  should  just  say  it  does,"  agreed  Har- 
vey, looking  up  from  where  he  held  the  dogs  in 
leash  awaiting  their  turn  to  jump  from  the  plank 
he  had  built  for  the  purpose.  The  dogs  were  so 
anxious  to  take  the  long  distance  leaps  that  they 
barked  and  pulled  on  their  chains,  in  real  enjoy- 
ment of  their  training. 

"  It's  just  wonderful  the  way  they've  improved 
the  short  time  you've  had  them  in  hand,"  con- 
tinued Beth  admiringly.  "  Watch  is  the  best 
jumper,"  she  added,  as  the  dog  in  question  flew 
up  the  plank  and  outdistanced  Duke's  last  effort. 
Beth  was  somewhat  jealous  for  her  pet.  She 
had  gladly  adopted  Watch,  but  he  could  never 
win  the  place  in  her  affection  that  Duke  held. 
In  fact  Watch  appreciated  this  and  so  he  lavished 
the  most  of  his  affection  on  Harvey. 

"  Watch  is  my  star  pupil,"  agreed  Harvey. 

Marian  and  Julia  now  joined  them. 

"  It's  worrying  me  what  under  the  sun  we, 
ourselves,  are  to  do,"  said  Marian. 

Beth's  Flan  215 

"  If  I  show  off  the  dogs  that's  enough  for  me," 
broke  in  Harvey. 

"  No  it's  not,"  answered  the  three  girls  at 

"  It's  easy  enough  to  tell  what  you're  to  do," 
said  Beth.  '*  We  need  music,  so  you'll  have  to 
send  for  your  violin  and  play." 

"  I  can  play  with  him  or  alone  on  my  guitar," 
proposed  Marian.  "  That  will  be  an  easy  way 
out  for  me." 

"  And  I  could  dance  if  we  only  had  a  platform. 
You  know,  Beth,  I  took  fancy  dancing  lessons 
last  winter,"  announced  Julia  in  her  turn. 

"  I  wish  now  I'd  taken  lessons,"  Beth  mur- 

"  I  told  you  you'd  be  sorry,"  retorted  Julia. 
"  Can't  we  have  a  platform  ?  " 

"We've  got  to  manage  one  some  way,"  an- 
swered Harvey. 

Beth  looked  disconsolate.  "Carol  and  I  are 
the  only  uncertain  ones.  I  suppose  I  can  learn 
some  pieces  to  recite,  and  I  might  teach  her  some- 
thing. I'll  try  anyway.  I'll  learn  funny  pieces — 
people  like  to  laugh.    But  what  can  Carol  learn  ?  " 

Gustus,  who  was  with  the  children  when- 
ever he  had  the  time,  overheard  what  they  were 
planning.  His  eyes  began  to  roll  as  they  always 
did  when  he  was  excited,  and  he  hopped  around 
first  on  one  foot  and  then  on  the  other  to  attract 
attention,  but  no  one  noticed  his  antics. 

2i6         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  I  kin  dance,  too,"  he  blurted  out  finally. 

Beth  was  the  first  to  catch  his  meaning. 
"You'd  like  to  take  part,  would  you,  Gustus? 
And  so  you  shall,"  she  added  in  response  to  his 
vigorous  nod.  "  The  Northerners,  especially,  will 
like  your  dancing." 

He  was  so  delighted  that  he  began  showing 
off  his  various  steps  to  let  his  little  mistress  see 
that  she  could  rely  on  his  proficiency. 

Upon  their  return  to  the  house,  Beth  hunted 
up  some  recitation  books  and  with  her  mother's 
aid,  selected  several  comic  pieces  hoping  that 
among  them,  she  could  choose  something  not 
only  for  herself,  but  one  for  Carol  also.  Then 
she  hastened  again  to  the  hollow  to  impart  her 
design  to  Carol. 

"  Me  recite  ?  "  repeated  Carol.     "  I  can't." 

Beth's  enthusiasm  was  not  to  be  so  easily 
quenched.  "You  must.  I'll  teach  you.  Sit 
down  here  by  me."  And  when  Carol  was  on 
the  log  beside  her,  she  opened  one  of  the  books 
to  "  The  Elf  Child." 

"Now  say  after  me,  'Little  orphant  Annie's 
come  to  our  house  to  stay.' " 

"  Has  she  ?     Who's  she  ?  " 

"  Why  I'm  reading  it  from  the  book.  Don't 
you  see  the  words  written  here  ?  " 

Carol  hung  her  head.  "I  hain't  been  to 
school  much." 

"  Can't  you  read  ?  " 

Beth' s  Plan  217 

Carol  had  never  felt  her  lack  of  knowledge  as 
she  did  at  this  moment.  She  twisted  her  dress 
nervously,  keeping  her  eyes  lowered  that  Beth 
might  not  see  the  tears  that  almost  blinded  her. 

"  Not  a  powerful  sight  like  that  thar,"  she 
murmured.  "  I  only  tended  school  one  term  fer 
we  didn't  have  no  school  up  in  the  mountains, 
an'  when  we  uns  came  down  to  Tremont,  I  got 
'shamed  'cause  I  was  put  in  with  the  little  chil- 
dren, but  I'd  have  kept  on  only  maw  needed  me 
to  hum." 

"  Carol,  after  the  show,  I'll  have  to  teach  you 
some,"  promised  Beth  impulsively.  "  It's  a  shame 
for  you  not  to  know  more." 

She  paused  a  moment  gaining  courage  to  speak 
of  a  matter  about  which  she  had  been  thinking 
for  some  time. 

"  Carol,  would  you  like  me  to  correct  you  in 
your  talk,  when  you  say  things  wrong  ?  " 

Beth  was  surprised  to  see  tears  rise  to  her 
friend's  eyes. 

"  Why  Carol,  I  just  wished  to  help  you.  I 
wouldn't  hurt  you  for  anything." 

Carol  tried  to  smile  through  the  tears.  "  Hit's 
not  that.     Hit's  'cause  I'm  so  pleased  like." 

"  And  you  really  want  me  to  help  you  ?  " 

"  'Deed  I  do  if  yer'U  only  do  hit." 

"  Then  you  mustn't  say  '  hit.'     Say  it." 

"It,  it,  it,"  murmured  Carol.  "  I  didn't  know 
*fore    that  I  said  hit — it  dif'runt."    Then  she 

2 1 8         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

added,  "  I'd  try  most  any  thin'  to  please  yer,  but — 
don't  ask  me  to  larn  that  thar  piece  to  say  at  the 
show.  I  hain't  a  bit  of  caliin'  that  away.  Please, 
please  don't  do  hit — it." 

Beth  could  not  resist  such  pleading.  Then, 
too,  she  realized  that  Carol  had  no  "  calling  "  for 

"  I'll  try  to  think  of  something  else  for  you  to 
do,"  she  promised. 


The  Dark  Comer 

The  very  name  "  Dark  Corner  "  appealed  to 
Harvey.  It  bespoke  mystery  and  adventure, 
and,  ever  since  he  had  first  heard  of  it,  he  re- 
solved to  ride  over  that  way,  all  alone. 

So  early  one  afternoon  he  asked  Beth  if  he 
might  take  Eueur  to  which  she  readily  con- 

"Beth,  you're  the  only  one  IVe  told  where 
I'm  going,"  he  said  at  parting.  "  It's  better  not 
to  let  the  girls  know.  They'd  want  to  go  too, 
and  it's  not  the  place  for  girls,"  he  added,  feeling 
the  importance  of  his  sex.  Had  he  but  known 
the  truth,  the  other  sex  was  better  tolerated  in 
the  "  Dark  Corner  "  than  his  own. 

Away  he  started  riding  toward  the  spot  where 
he  had  been  told  the  "  Dark  Corner  "  lay  over 
under  the  shadow  of  Hogback.  His  pulses 
thrilled.  Actually  he  hoped  to  chance  upon  some 
of  the  illegal  distills  about  which  he  had  heard 

At  the  end  of  two  miles  or  so  he  was  sur- 
prised to  come  upon  a  gate  right  across  the  mid- 
dle of  the  road.  He  hardly  knew  what  to  do, 
but  resolved  to  open  the  gate  half  expecting  if 

222         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

he  rode  onward  to  come  upon  some  house  where 
he  intended  to  ask  if  he  was  intruding. 

To  open  the  gate  without  dismounting  proved 
a  difficult  matter.  Every  time  that  he  reached 
down  to  the  latch,  at  that  very  instant  Kueur 
would  grow  restless  and  jerk  away.  Then  the 
same  performance  was  repeated  over  and  over 
again  until,  at  last,  his  efforts  were  rewarded. 

Closing  the  gate  after  him,  he  galloped  along 
noticing  that  the  land  around  him  was  uncultivated 
and  that  there  was  not  the  least  sign  of  a  habita- 
tion. Still  he  was  dissatisfied,  longing  to  travel 
some  mountain  trail  that  bespoke  even  less  civili- 
zation. Onward  he  rode  without  seeing  the 
least  sign  of  human  life,  and  still  desirous  of  some 
unusual  experience. 

Uphill  and  downhill  Rueur  carried  him  while 
the  woods  around  were  so  wild  that  Harvey 
finally  had  a  sense  of  being  entirely  alone  almost 
in  a  primeval  world.  For  a  moment  a  feeling  of 
fear  weighed  upon  his  mind. 

"  Perhaps  it  would  be  better  to  go  over  some 
way  I  know,"  he  thought,  but  immediately  the 
love  of  adventure  conquered  fear. 

As  if  to  tempt  him,  to  the  right  he  beheld  an 
evidently  disused  road,  deeply  rutted ;  unmistak- 
ably washed  by  many  a  rain.  Weeds,  too,  had 
sprung  into  luxuriant  growth  almost  hiding  where 
the  road  had  been. 

Without  an  instant's  hesitation,  Harvey  headed 

The  Dark  Comer  223 

Kueur  to  the  right.  Within  a  few  moments  he 
came  to  a  stream  which  he  forded.  Once  across, 
there  was  no  more  evidence  of  a  road. 

While  Harvey  waited,  pondering  what  to  do, 
Kueur  took  the  reins  into  his  own  keeping,  and 
turned  to  the  left  to  nibble  at  the  bushes.  His 
so  doing  decided  Harvey's  course  of  action. 
Right  beyond  the  bushes  he  beheld  a  trail,  the 
finding  of  which  made  his  heart  thump.  Again 
he  indulged  in  no  hesitation,  but  dug  the  spurs 
into  Rueur  to  follow  the  trail  which  proved  suf- 
ficiently wild  to  suit  even  Harvey.  The  branches 
of  the  trees  grew  so  low  that  he  had  to  stoop  not 
to  be  swept  from  the  saddle,  while  the  bushes  on 
either  side  reached  right  across  the  path  as  if 
warning  him  not  to  proceed.  Still  Harvey  would 
not  turn  back. 

"  I  want  something  to  tell  Beth,  and  this  cer- 
tainly looks  mysterious  enough,"  he  mused. 

Suddenly  he  came  to  a  hillside  where  the  trail, 
too,  ceased. 

"  We'll  go  up  the  hill  anyway,"  Harvey  said 
aloud  to  the  mule,  once  more  using  the  spurs. 

With  a  plunge  Rueur  started  upward,  and  it 
was  well  that  he  got  such  a  good  start  for  the 
earth  was  soft  and  stony  while  the  climb  proved 
extremely  steep. 

Wilder  and  wilder  grew  the  scenery.  The  still- 
ness was  oppressive.  The  sun,  too,  was  beclouded 
momentarily,  which  made  the  woods  around  and 

224         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

above  dark  and  awe  inspiring.  Immense  boulders 
often  blocked  the  way,  so  that  Rueur  had  to 
choose  his  footing  most  carefully. 

Harvey  leaned  far  forward  in  the  saddle  as  if 
to  assist  the  mule  upward.  Now  he  had  no 
thought  of  turning  backward  as  long  as  the  mule 
could  possibly  proceed.  Harvey,  some  way,  was 
assured  that  an  unusual  experience  awaited  him 
if  he  only  persevered. 

Nevertheless,  he  was  startled  when  suddenly 
he  heard  a  murmur  of  voices  ahead. 

Stealthily  to  the  ground  he  slipped.  Fastening 
Rueur,  he  stole  through  the  bushes  intent  on  see- 
ing what  was  before  him  without  being  seen  him- 
self, but  the  undergrowth  was  so  luxuriant  that, 
without  warning,  he  almost  fell  down  an  em- 
bankment, as  he  had  not  been  looking  for  any 
such  precipitate  descent. 

Caution  overcome  now  by  fear  of  a  fall,  he 
reached  out  wildly  to  save  himself.  "With  ease 
he  caught  hold  of  a  tree,  but  in  so  doing  some 
dry  twigs  beneath  his  feet  crackled. 

At  the  same  instant,  almost  directly  below,  a 
sight  confronted  him  that  might  well  make  his 
heart  beat. 

Beside  a  stone  still  were  two  masked  and  armed 
men,  and  one  of  them  aimed  directly  at  poor, 
trembling  Harvey. 

"  Don't  shoot !  I— I'll  never  tell ! "  yelled 

The  Dark  Comer  22 S 

The  men  looked  up  surprised.  They  had  not 
even  heard  the  crackling,  and  had  no  thought  of 
an  intruder  when  aiming  their  pistols. 

"  What  yer  doin'  thar,  kid  ? "  called  one  of 
them  not  threateningly,  Harvey  thought. 

"I — I  was  just  taking  a  ride.  My  mule  is 
back  there."  Whereupon  Harvey  made  a  move 
to  go. 

"  Have  him  come  down,"  called  a  voice  from 
the  underbrush  to  the  side  of  the  men.  The 
speaker  was  so  well  screened  by  the  green  that 
Harvey  could  not  even  get  a  glimpse  of  him,  but 
he  was  evidently  no  mountaineer  as  Harvey  knew 
by  his  speech.  This  fact  made  Harvey  a  little 
less  fearful. 

"  Cum  on  down,"  called  the  men. 

If  they  had  not  been  armed,  Harvey  would 
have  risked  running. 

"  I — I  don't  know  how  to  get  down." 

"I'll  show  yer,"  and  the  nearest  man  ran 
nimbly  around  the  still  to  a  path  at  the  right. 

"  This  way,"  he  called  cheerfully. 

Harvey  did  not  feel  at  all  cheerful.  The  men 
being  armed  and  masked  as  they  were  had  a 
serious  look  to  him,  and  even  if  the  third  man 
was  better  educated,  he  might  still  be  a  cutthroat. 

"  I'd  better  put  a  brave  face  on  anyway,"  he 
resolved  as  he  started  toward  the  path. 

The  men  below  were  talking  in  low  tones. 

"Deciding  what  they'll  do  with  me,"  Harvey 

226         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

thought,  trying  his  utmost  to  overhear  what  they 
said,  but  without  success. 

Half-way  down  the  path  he  beheld  at  the  spot 
where  the  third  voice  sounded  something  project- 
ing through  the  bushes,  and  was  vastly  surprised 
to  discover  that  the  object  was  a  camera. 

The  situation  was  growing  more  and  more  puz- 
zling every  moment,  but  the  discovery  of  the 
camera  lightened  Harvey's  fear  so  that  he  hur- 
ried downward  more  willingly. 

A  gentlemanly  appearing  man  came  out  from 
the  bushes  and  smilingly  said : 

"  Well,  my  boy,  I  think  I've  just  gotten  a  very 
unusual  picture,  and  that  it  will  be  good  unless 
the  shade  is  too  dense." 

"  Picture  ?  "  repeated  Harvey,  hardly  yet  tak- 
ing in  the  situation. 

"  Yes.  Did  you  really  think  we  were  making 
mountain  dew  ?  " 

"  I — I  was  too  scared  to  think  much,"  stam- 
mered Harvey,  too  relieved  to  be  sure  that  he 
was  not  being  deceived. 

"  I  knew  of  this  deserted  still  and  had  these 
men  dress  up  for  my  benefit,"  explained  the  pho- 
tographer. "  If  the  picture  turns  out  well,  I'll 
send  you  one.  You  deserve  some  reward  for  the 
scare  I've  given  you." 

Harvey  felt  like  himself  once  more.  *'  It  will 
be  fine  to  have  the  picture.  My,  but  things  did 
look  black  for  me  for  awhile." 

The  Dark  Comer  227 

He  walked  over  to  examine  the  still.  The  pho- 
tographer accompanied  him  and  explained  how 
it  was  worked. 

"  That  man  knows  this  business  thoroughly," 
said  the  photographer,  presently  glancing  over 
his  shoulder  toward  the  spring  where  the  two 
men  were  getting  water.  He  indicated  the  one 
farthest  from  him.  "  I  imagine  that  he  may  have 
made  whisky  himself  once." 

The  men  had  by  this  time  taken  off  their  masks 
and  Harvey  thought  he  must  have  seen  the  man 
some  place  before,  or  else  he  reminded  him  of 
some  one.     Harvey  could  not  decide  which. 

''  What  does  he  do  now  ?  "  he  asked. 

*'  Nothing  but  drink,  I  reckon." 

The  men  now  joined  them,  and  the  photog- 
rapher took  some  money  from  his  pocket. 

"Here's  the  amount  I  promised  you,  Corn- 

Harvey  knew  that  he  had  heard  that  name  be- 
fore, but  could  not  place  it. 

The  photographer  was  ready  to  depart,  so  after 
Harvey  had  given  him  his  address,  he,  too,  de- 
cided to  go. 

Just  as  he  was  leaving,  he  heard  one  of  the  men 

"  Corn  well,  I'll  be  thar  at  the  house  at  the  foot 
of  the  track  at  eight  to-night." 

"  I'll  be  waitin'  yer,"  answered  Corn  well. 

At  the  time  the  words  made  small  impression  on 

228         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Harvey's  mind,  having  no  idea  that  they  would 
concern  him  in  any  way,  so  light-heartedly  he 
ascended  the  path,  thankful  that  his  adventure 
had  proved  uneventful. 

He  had  ridden  farther  than  he  thought,  and  by 
the  time  he  reached  home  it  was  almost  dark. 

Supper  was  awaiting  him,  and  once  at  table  he 
immediately  related  his  adventure. 

"  My,  but  I  was  scared  when  I  saw  Cornwell 
aiming  at  me  as  I  thought.  How  should  I  know 
that  he  was  posing  for  a  picture  ?  "  said  Harvey 
in  finish. 

"CornweU?"  repeated  Beth.  "Why  that's 
Carol's  name.     Can  it  be  her  father  ?  " 

"I  knew  I'd  heard  the  name  before,"  said 

"  Speaking  of  illegal  distilling  reminds  me  of 
my  own  vexation  on  that  very  subject,"  said  Mr. 
Davenport.  "  I  have  a  suspicion  that  whisky  is 
being  sold  in  one  of  my  own  houses." 

"Why  don't  you  stop  it  then?"  demanded 
Marian,  who  was  very  strict  on  the  temperance 

"  Because  I  cannot  prove  anything.  It's  this 
way.  About  a  month  ago  I  rented  a  house  be- 
low here  at  the  foot  of  the  railroad  track." 

Even  at  these  words  Harvey  did  not  remember 
what  had  passed  between  Cornwell  and  his  com- 
panion about  a  place  at  the  foot  of  some  track. 

"  Ko  one  moved  in,"  continued  Mr.  Davenport, 

The  Dark  Comer  229 

"  but  I've  been  told  that  men  and  boys  go  there 
for  whisky,  that  money  and  jugs  are  passed 
through  an  opening,  and  I  mean  to  solve  the 

"  Miss  Mary,  dey's  to  have  a  cake-walk  obber 
at  de  hotel  to-night,  an'  dey  done  'low  datyou  all 
should  come,"  announced  Gustus. 

Mrs.  Davenport  looked  at  Beth.  "  You  should 
not  go,  dear,  and  so  we  had  better  stay  home." 

Marian  and  Julia  were  disappointed.  Still  on 
account  of  Beth  they  would  not  ask  to  go. 

"  You  must  go  without  me."  Beth's  lips  quiv- 
ered slightly  but  she  tried  very  hard  to  be  brave. 
*'It's  just  the  chance  to  talk  about  our  show  to 
the  guests  there." 

"  But  we  haven't  decided  when  to  have  it." 

"How  will  a  week  from  next  Saturday  do?" 
asked  Beth. 

"  I  reckon  we  can  be  ready  then,"  answered 
Harvey,  who  had  been  appointed  master  of  cere- 
monies. "And  I'll  stay  with  you  to-night, 

Her  face  brightened,  but  still  she  demurred. 
"  It's  a  shame " 

"  Keally  I  don't  want  to  go,  but  the  others  had 
better  go  to  talk  up  the  show  as  you  suggest." 


CdwVs  Father 

After  the  others  had  departed,  Harvey  and 
Beth  went  to  the  kitchen  with  the  idea  of  pop- 
ping corn.  They  found  Maggie  sitting  in  front 
of  the  fire,  bent  way  over  and  looking  very  mis- 
erable for  her  usually  smiling  self. 

"  Law,  honeys,  I  done  got  de  misery  in  my  jints 
so's  I  jes'  can't  walk,"  she  announced.  "I'se 
powerful  bad,  an'  if  it  warn't  fer  leavin'  yo'  two 
alone,  I'd  go  up  to  bed." 

"  Where  are  Gustus  and  Lizzie  ?  " 

"  I  done  reckon  as  how  dat  scamp  of  a  Gustus 
sneaked  off  after  de  odders.  He  thinks  a  power 
of  gabbin'  wid  de  hotel  help,  an'  Lizzy  likewise. 
Dat's  why  we're  'lone.  Oh,  gracious  me,  dat  knee 
of  mine  is  jes'  ter'ble." 

"You  go  right  to  bed,  Maggie.  Indeed  you 
must  go,"  commanded  Beth. 

"Dar  nebber  wuz  sech  a  bossy  chile  as  yo', 
honey,  but  I  'specs  I'll  have  to  'bey  yo'."  She 
arose  as  if  really  reluctant ;  nevertheless,  her  face 
brightened  perceptibly. 

*'  Of  course,  you  will,"  and  Beth  pushed  Mag- 
gie out  into  the  hall,  slamming  the  door  after  her. 
"  Now  for  the  corn,  Harvey." 

234         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

When  the  corn  was  shelled,  and  some  was  pop- 
ping, a  timid  knock  sounded  at  the  kitchen  door. 

"Who  can  it  be?"  whispered  Beth,  inclined 
to  be  a  little  startled. 

"  We'll  see,"  answered  Harvey,  boldly  opening 
the  door.  Beth  caught  a  glimpse  of  a  tow-head 

"  Carol  sent  me." 

"  What  does  she  want  ?  "  demanded  Beth. 

"  The  baby's  sick,"  blurted  out  the  child. 

"  Oh,"  gasped  Beth,  unprepared  for  new  trouble. 

"  An'  maw  wants  some  of  you  uns  to  come." 

Beth  was  only  undecided  a  moment  as  to  what 
should  be  done. 

"  Harvey,  as  there's  no  one  to  go  but  us,  we'll 
have  to  go  ourselves." 

"But  Beth,  you're  not  strong " 

"  I  am  strong,  and  we're  going,  so  you  needn't 
argue.  We'll  not  say  a  word  to  Maggie.  We'll 
take  the  kitchen  key  with  us." 

In  a  few  minutes  Beth  and  Harvey  were  ready 
to  accompany  the  child,  and  the  three  started, 
locking  the  door  behind  them. 

The  night  was  dark,  intensely  dark.  Dense 
clouds  had  gathered  hiding  all  the  stars,  and  the 
feeling  of  rain  was  in  the  air. 

"  We'll  get  lost,  it's  so  dark,"  said  Beth. 

"  I  could  shut  my  eyes,  an'  get  to  hum,"  said 
the  child,  starting  down  the  hill  just  ahead  of 
the  others. 

CaroVs  Father  235 

When  they  had  only  gone  a  short  distance, 
Beth  stumbled,  almost  falling  over  the  root  of  a 

'^  You'll  have  to  be  helped,"  said  Harvey, 
running  to  her  aid. 

"  It  is  a  little  rough  for  me,"  she  acknowledged. 

The  child  alone  was  sure  of  her  footing. 
Harvey  and  Beth  had  to  go  cautiously,  but  finally 
managed  to  reach  the  foot  of  the  hill  in  safety. 

"  How  strange,"  said  Beth  pausing.  "  I  didn't 
know  that  birds  sang  at  night.  Don't  you  hear 
it  too  ?  '* 

"That  hain't  no  bird.  That's  Carol  singin'  to 
the  baby,"  announced  the  child. 

"  It  sounds  more  like  a  bird,"  persisted  Beth. 

"  She  likes  to  try  an'  sing  like  the  birds." 

"Harvey,"  whispered  Beth,  "I  don't  know 
much  about  music,  but  it  really  seems  quite 
wonderful  to  me." 

"  It's  very  pretty  indeed.  I'm  surprised,"  he 

So  was  Beth,  and  a  new  plan  for  Carol  began 
to  form  in  her  mind,  but  she  moved  on  in  silence 
to  the  cabin  which  was  dimly  lighted. 

Seated  by  the  hearth  in  which  was  a  smoulder- 
ing fire  dying  gradually  out,  was  Carol  trying  to 
quiet  the  baby  with  her  singing.  The  children 
were  sleeping  while  Mrs.  Cornwell  anxiously 
watched  the  door.  As  the  children  entered,  she 
raised  herself  on  her  elbow. 

236         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Whar's  yer  paw  ?  This  is  work  fer  a  man," 
she  cried  shrilly. 

"  Hush,  maw,  hush,"  cautioned  Carol.  "  Ye're 
makin*  'Liz'beth  restless  agin." 

Mrs.  Cornwell  paid  no  heed  to  the  warning. 
She  was  evidently  greatly  excited.  Her  eyes 
burned  unnaturally  bright,  and  she  wrung  her 
hands  in  nervous  agitation. 

"  I  kin  stand  hit  no  more,"  she  moaned.  "  I 
know  now  whar  Sam'el  goes.  I  won't  stand  hit 
no  more.  Yer  paw  shall  be  told."  Her  voice 
was  growing  shriller  every  moment.  "  That's  why 
I  sent  fer  you  uns.  I  'spected  he'd  come  'stead  of 
sendin'  you  uns." 

"We  were  told  that  the  baby  was  sick 
and " 

"  That's  only  part  true.  I'm  so  flighty  over 
Sam'el  that  I  make  'Liz'beth  restless.  That's  all, 
an'  I  used  hit  as  a  'scuse  so's  I  could  tell  yer 
paw — if  he  don't  know  hit  already — how  licker's 
sold  in  his  house." 

"  My  father  will  stop  it  in  a  minute  if  you  can 
prove  it,"  Beth  said. 

"  I  can't  prove  hit  'cept  that  Carol  seen  him — 
Sam'el — comin'  dead  drunk  from  thar.  He's 
prob'ly  thar  now.  I  wish  we  had  some  one  to 
spy  on  'em." 

"  He's  there.  I  heard  him  agree  to  meet  a 
man  there  at  eight,"  answered  Harvey,  the  words 
of  the  afternoon  flashing  into  his  mind. 

CaroVs  Father  237 

She  looked  him  over  critically.  "Yer  be 
pretty  small,  but  I  wish  yer  dared  go  to  make 
sure.     Will  yer  go  ?  " 

"  I'll  go,"  he  promised. 

The  sick  woman  was  flighty  and  hardly  real- 
ized what  she  was  proposing. 

"  Yes,  yes,  do  go.     Take  Brune  with  yer." 

"  I'll  go  too,"  put  in  Beth. 

"You'll  do  nothing  of  the  sort,"  answered 
Harvey.     "  You  wait  here." 

She  insisted,  but  he  would  not  consent. 

"Go  with  him,  Brune,"  Carol  commanded, 
waking  the  dog  from  where  he  slept  on  the 

"  He  might  make  a  noise,  and " 

"  Yer  jes'  say,  '  quiet,  Brune,  quiet,'  an'  he'll 
make  no  noise." 

The  companionship  of  the  dog,  because  of  the 
darkness,  was  acceptable  to  the  boy. 

"  Whew,  but  it's  dark,"  he  said  outside,  keeping 
Brune  close  beside  him.  He  was  not  familiar 
with  the  path  down  to  the  railroad  track,  and  lost 
his  way  several  times,  so  that  he  stumbled  over 
the  roots  of  trees,  skinned  his  shins,  and  repented 
of  his  undertaking  although  he  would  not  turn 

At  first  he  was  not  frightened,  but,  when 
almost  at  the  railroad  track,  a  sudden  noise  below 
him  started  his  heart  beating  at  a  great  rate. 

In  a  moment  he  smiled  over  his  own  cowardice. 

238         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  The  idea  of  my  being  afraid  of  the  croaking 
of  frogs,"  he  thought,  "but  at  first  I  didn't 
remember  there  was  a  pond  down  there." 

However,  with  fear  once  aroused,  there  was 
soon  new  food  for  it  to  feed  on.  Arrived  at  the 
railroad  track,  Harvey  paused  abruptly,  for  he 
thought  he  heard  people  talking  down  by  the 
house  at  the  foot  of  the  embankment.  Brune, 
too,  growled,  which  assured  Harvey  that  people 
were  below. 

"  Quiet,  Brune,  quiet,"  he  cautioned,  and  the 
dog  immediately  settled  down  obediently  beside 

Harvey  would  have  liked  to  whistle  as  did 
Gustus  when  scared,  but  realized  that  unless  he 
kept  his  approach  quiet,  he  could  not  hope  to  ac- 
complish anything.  Although  he  acknowledged 
that  the  task  before  him  frightened  him,  still  he 
would  not  turn  back. 

Notwithstanding  his  trepidation,  he  quickly 
thought  out  what  should  be  done.  He  had  often 
walked  along  the  track  up  this  way,  and  knew 
the  embankment  to  be  very  steep,  almost  per- 
pendicular in  fact,  but  to  find  out  anything  he 
must  get  down  it  some  way.  He  realized  that 
even  the  underbrush  and  rocks  just  below  the 
upper  ledge  which  had  been  filled  in  to  make 
the  roadbed,  might  send  him  head  foremost  right 
into  the  midst  of  the  men,  for  it  w^as  impossi. 
ble  to  see  a  foot  around  him.     Nevertheless,  he 

CaroVs  Father  239 

was  bound  to  carry  out  the  adventure  to  a 

Cautiously  as  he  could,  he  started  downward. 
In  a  moment  he  heartily  repented  the  attempt. 
The  loose  sand  around  him  giving  way,  he  was 
carried  irresistibly  along  with  it.  Brune,  too,  was 
caught  in  the  downward  avalanche,  but,  being 
surer-footed,  stopped  himself  the  sooner.  Harvey 
grabbed  hold  of  a  bush  which  broke  his  wild 
flight  momentarily,  but  the  dirt  rattled  on  down- 
hill making  considerable  noise. 

As  Harvey  clung  breathlessly,  his  weight  up- 
rooted the  bush,  again  sending  him  sprawling 
downward.  In  desperation  he  reached  out  wildly, 
and  was  held  a  second  by  a  good  sized  boulder, 
until  it  loosened  also  and  went  clattering  to  the 
foot  of  the  hill. 

In  a  moment  Harvey  grasped  another  bush 
thus  succeeding  in  gaining  his  feet.  All  hopes 
of  finding  out  anything  seemed  over,  for  the  ava- 
lanche of  rattling  dirt  and  rocks  would  have 
scared  people  into  hiding  if  they  had  any  cause 
for  so  doing,  and  Harvey  decided  to  return  to 
the  cabin  for  Beth.  But  when  he  let  go  of  the 
bush  to  take  a  step  upward,  the  way  proved  so 
steep  that  he  realized  that  he  would  have  to  go 
to  the  foot  of  the  embankment  and  walk  around 
by  the  road  to  the  track.  So  down  the  hill  he 
and  Brune  continued,  and  soon  they  were  on 
level  ground  again  right  back  of  the  house  that 

240         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

had  been  arousing  so  much  suspicion  of  late. 
Harvey  drew  a  deep  breath,  and  paused  a  mo- 
ment to  steady  his  nerves  which  were  still  de- 
cidedly shaky.     All  was  perfectly  quiet  now. 

"  We  can't  find  out  anything,  but  let's  have  a 
look  at  the  place  anyway,"  he  said  to  the  dog. 

Not  the  least  sign  of  life  did  he  find  near  the 
house,  and  so  he  was  ready  to  return. 

"  Come  on,  Brune,"  he  called,  for  the  dog  had 
wandered  from  his  side. 

At  the  same  instant  Brune  whined  and  began 

"  What  is  it,  old  fellow  ?  "  For  an  instant  he 
thought  the  dog  had  made  some  discovery,  until 
Brune  quieted  down  so  suddenly  that  Harvey  con- 
cluded he  had  but  scented  game  which  he  would 
not  hound  at  night. 

Harvey  was  about  to  walk  on  when  a  sound  as 
of  a  smothered  groan  stopped  him. 

"  Brune,"  he  called,  "  Brune,"  but  the  dog  did 
not  come  running  in  response. 

For  the  second  time  the  same  mysterious  sound 
broke  the  stillness,  and  Harvey  began  to  feel  de- 
cidedly nervous.  The  groan  evidently  came  from 
some  human  being  in  distress,  and  in  the  dark- 
ness and  loneliness  of  the  spot  suggested  horrible 
possibilities  to  Harvey  who  knew  not  whether 
to  run  or  to  try  to  solve  the  mystery.  As  the 
groans  did  not  cease,  he  decided  that  he  could  not 
leave  any  human  being  in  such  misery,  and  Brune 

CaroVs  Father  241 

would  probably  come  to  his  aid  if  he  needed  as- 
sistance. Harvey,  therefore,  advanced  cau- 
tiously, guided  by  the  cry  that  was  not  far 

All  at  once  he  almost  stumbled  over  a  pros- 
trate form,  and  then  he  saw  that  Brune  was  keep- 
ing guard  close  by. 

"  Don't  take  me,  don't.  I  have  nothin'  to  do 
with  sellin'  whisky.  I  swear  hit,"  groaned  the 
figure  on  the  ground  almost  incoherently  while 
between  every  sentence  there  was  a  groan. 

Harvey's  courage  returned.  He  saw  that  the 
man  on  the  ground  was  not  only  hurt,  but  for 
some  reason  was  afraid  of  him. 

"  What's  the  matter  ?  "  he  demanded. 

"  A  lot  of  we  uns  were  yonder  when  we  heard 
the  officers " 

"  What  officers  ?  " 

"  You  revenue  officers " 

"  There  are  no  revenue  officers  that  I  know  of. 
What  do  you  mean  ?  " 

"Didn't  you  uns  come  down  the  hill  ?  Hain't 
you  uns  revenue  officers  ?  " 

"  No,  indeed,  and  only  Brune  and  I  came  down 
the  hill." 

"  Only  Brune  and  you  ?  "  the  man  repeated 
and  then  began  cursing. 

"  Hush.  Do  hush,"  cried  Harvey  greatly 
shocked.  As  the  man  did  not  heed  him  he  added, 
"  I'll  leave  you  if  you  don't  stop." 

242         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  YerVe  got  to  help  me.     I'm  hurt.     When  we 

ran " 

"  Why  did  you  run  ?  What  were  you  afraid 

The  man  did  not  pay  the  least  attention  to  the 
questions.  "  I  caught  my  foot  an'  over  I  went. 
I  tried  to  get  up  but  I  can't  stand  on  my  foot. 
Hit's  awful  bad.  I  jes'  had  to  groan  when  my 
dawg  Brune " 

"Your  dog?"  repeated  Harvey.  "You  are 
Samuel  Cornwell  then,  Carol's  father  ?  " 

"  What  yer  know  'bout  Carol  ?  " 

"  My  friend,  Beth  Davenport " 

"  Ye're  one  of  the  'ris'crats  on  the  hill  then,'* 
muttered  Cornwell.  "  If  I  wasn't  hurt,  I'd  see 
yer  damned  'fore  I  asked  any  thin'  from  yer  or 
yer  kind.  But  now  yer've  got  to  help  me  get 
hum,  or  it'll  be  the  worse  fer  yer."  He  was  in- 
clined to  be  quarrelsome  for  he  was  evidently 
under  the  influence  of  liquor.  "  Yer  got  to  get 
me  a  horse  to  carry  me.  Can't  walk,"  he  mut- 
tered doggedly.  Evidently  he  did  not  recognize 
Harvey  who  decided  to  say  nothing  of  the  meet- 
ing in  the  afternoon. 

"  You  must  try  to  walk,"  commanded  Harvey, 
believing  that  perhaps  drunkenness  kept  him 
from  rising. 

Cornwell  obediently  rose,  but  sank  back  with 
a  groan  so  very  real  that  Harvey  was  assured 
that  he  was  not  shamming. 

CaroVs  Father  243 

"  Hain't  no  use.  Yer  reckon  I'd  be  here  if  I 
could  gotten  'way  ?  " 

Harvey,  hardly  knowing  what  to  do,  tried  very 
hard  to  plan  some  way  to  get  Corn  well  home. 

"  If  I  bring  a  mule,  do  you  think  you'll  be  able 
to  ride  ?  "  he  asked  presently. 

"  If  yer'd  help  me  up,  I'd  ride  all  right." 

Harvey  decided  to  go  for  Kueur.  "  I'll  be  back 
in  a  short  time,"  he  promised.  As  he  started 
away,  Brune  would  have  followed,  had  not  Corn- 
well  called  gruffly : 

"  Here,  Brune,  yer  stay  right  here  with  me." 
And  then  he  swore  at  the  dog  so  vigorously  that 
Harvey  thought  it  might  be  right  to  leave  him  to 
his  suffering  had  it  not  been  for  his  wife's 

As  Harvey  hurried  along  the  road,  it  came  to 
him  again  how  Gustus  always  whistled  or  sang 
to  keep  the  "  spooks  "  away. 

"It's  so  dark,  to-night,  he'd  have  to  make  an 
awful  noise  to  keep  up  his  courage  at  all,"  thought 

He  knew  that  he  would  have  no  difficulty  in 
getting  the  mule,  as  the  Davenports'  barn  was 
never  locked  even  at  night,  and  he  felt  sure  that 
Beth  would  approve  of  his  taking  her  pet. 

"  Kueur  is  figuring  quite  a  good  deal  in  '  'spe- 
riences,'  as  Beth  would  say,"  he  thought  later, 
when  he  had  the  mule  saddled  and  was  on  the 
way  back. 

244         -^  ilfat'c/  of  the  Mountains 

"I  'lowed  yer  was  gwinter  stay  all  night," 
complained  Cornwell  as  Harvey  dismounted  be- 
side him.  Harvey  considered  such  a  complaint 
unfair,  as  he  had  hurried  as  fast  as  possible. 

*'  Dunno  how  I'll  make  it.  My  foot  hurts  pow- 
erful bad,  an'  I  feel  mighty  shaky,"  he  continued, 
nevertheless  with  Harvey's  aid  he  managed  to 
swing  up  into  the  saddle. 

Cornwell  appeared  so  decidedly  "  shaky  "  that 
Harvey  decided  to  lead  Rueur.  Brune  trotted 
along  beside  him,  and  thus  they  made  their  way 
slowly  back  to  the  hut  in  the  hollow. 

"  The  ole  woman  'lows  that  I  drink,"  Cornwell 
muttered  confidentially,  as  Harvey  helped  him 
down.  "  'Course  she's  'staken,  but  she'll  kinder 
go  fer  me  jes'  the  same,  but  yer  watch  an'  see 
how  I  fool  her." 

Harvey  tied  Rueur,  and  then  helped  Cornwell 

''  Drunk  agin,"  cried  Mrs.  Cornwell  at  sight  of 
the  staggering  man.  She  sprang  up  in  bed,  and 
her  fever-lit  eyes  flashed.  "If  I  war  'round 
thar'd  be  no  carry  in'  on  like  this,  Sam 'el  Corn- 
well.  I'd  not  have  hit.  Yer'd  have  to  do  some- 
thin'  fer  yer  young  uns  or  go  not  to  cum  back." 

Cornwell  sank  down  on  the  nearest  chair. 
"  Don't  'cite  yerself,  Maria.  Hit's  a  right  pooty 
evenin'.     Too  pooty  to  'cite  yerself." 

"  Sam'el,"  and  his  wife  began  to  sob,  "  I " 

"  Oh,  shut  up,"  growled  Cornwell.     "  I'm  hurt. 

Carol's  Father  245 

Help  me  off  with  this  boot.  Hit  hurts  powerful 
bad,"  he  added  to  Harvey. 

The  foot  was  so  swollen  that  with  great  dif- 
ficulty the  boot  came  off.  His  suffering  some- 
what appeased  his  wife. 

"  Carol,  get  a  bucket  of  water  an'  let  yer  paw 
soak  his  foot,"  she  said  in  milder  tones.  "  Then 
yer  kin  come  to  bed,  Sam'el.  I'll  not  talk  'til 

Beth  rose  from  her  seat  beside  the  fire.  Her 
heart  was  heavy,  which  was  even  worse  than 
being  so  tired. 

"  We'll  go  if  you  don't  need  us  any  more,"  she 

"  Dunno  as  thar's  nought  yer  kin  do,"  muttered 
Mrs.  Cornwell.  "  Dunno  as  thar's  nought  noan 
kin  do." 

Outside  the  two  children  breathed  a  little  freer, 
although  what  they  had  just  witnessed  made 
more  apparent,  more  horribly  real,  the  awful 
effects  of  sin  than  anything  they  had  ever  ex- 

"  You  ride  up  the  hill,"  proposed  Harvey  in  a 
hushed  voice,  and  he  helped  her  into  the  saddle. 
Then  he  walked  along  by  her  side. 

Beth  was  too  deeply  stirred  even  for  question- 
ing, and  Harvey  was  not  talkative,  so  in  unbroken 
silence  they  proceeded. 

Fireflies  alone  indicated  that  there  was  other 
life  still  in  the  universe.     Every  once  in  a  while 

246         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

little  flashes  of  light  relieved  the  pitch  darkness 
of  the  sleeping  world.  Beth  wished  that  she 
might  see  some  such  flash  of  light  in  the  darkness 
that  enveloped  the  Corn  well  family,  but  search 
as  she  would,  she  could  find  none. 

"  Oh,  Harvey,  what  is  to  become  of  them  ?  " 

He  had  no  answer.  No  flash  of  light  shone  to 
his  sense  for  the  wretched  family  in  the  hollow. 

All  night  he  dreamed  of  revenue  officers  chas- 
ing illegal  distillers.  In  fact  he  thought  himself 
an  officer,  and  such  a  capable  one  that  finally  all 
drinking  in  Tremont  ceased. 

The  subject  had  taken  such  a  strong  hold  of 
his  mind  that  in  the  morning,  immediately  after 
breakfast,  he  started  down  to  the  railroad  to  see 
where  he  and  Brune  slid  down  the  embankment. 
He  felt  sure  of  finding  the  spot  by  the  uprooted 
bushes  and  stone.  Before  starting  out,  he  related 
to  the  family  the  adventure  of  the  night  before. 

At  the  track  he  met  Marian  who  was  returning 
from  an  errand,  and  she  joined  Harvey. 

"  Here's  the  very  spot,"  called  Harvey,  excit- 
edly. "  I'd  never  have  dared  go  down  in  day- 
light.    It's  even  steeper  than  I  thought." 

"  It's  a  wonder  you  didn't  break  your  neck," 
declared  Marian,  shuddering  to  think  that  he  had 
been  so  foolhardy. 

"  Why,  there's  Brune,"  called  Harvey  suddenly. 
"  I  wonder  if  he's  come  to  see  what  a  wonderful 
feat  we  accomplished  last  night." 

Carol's  Father  247 

"  And  there's  Carol ! "  exclaimed  Marian. 
"  Hello,  Carol !  " 

The  mountain  girl  who  was  still  half  hidden  by 
underbrush,  had  not  noted  them  or  heard  their 
voices  until  Marian  called,  although  she  was 
climbing  nearer  to  them  quickly  and  easily. 

"  Why  don't  you  go  on  a  little  farther  where 
it's  not  so  steep,"  called  Harvey,  thinking  of  his 
own  experience. 

"  Law,  this  hain't  nothin'."  And  to  show  that 
she  meant  it,  she  climbed  the  steep  embankment 
with  as  little  effort  as  many  people  walk  on  level 

"I  hain't  lived  on  the  side  of  a  mountain 
so  long  a  time  fer  nothin',"  she  boasted  as 
she  halted  beside  them  without  the  least  lack  of 

"  What  have  you  there,  Carol  ? "  questioned 
Marian,  indicating  a  jug  that  the  girl  was  carry- 
ing.    Carol  hung  her  head. 

"Is  it  molasses?"  continued  unsuspicious 

Carol  shook  her  head.  "  I  done  wish  hit  war 
merlasses,"  she  muttered.  "  Hit  wouldn't  do  no 
harm  as  this  '11." 

All  at  once,  it  flashed  through  Marian's  mind 
what  the  jug  contained. 

"  You  shouldn't  go  for  liquor  for  your  father. 
Where  did  you  buy  it?"  demanded  Marian 

248         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Carol  continued  to  hang  her  head.  "  I  darsen't 
tell.     He'd  kill  me." 

"  Who  ?     Your  father  ?  " 

Carol  did  not  answer. 

*'  You  got  it  from  that  house  down  there," 
Marian  continued  eagerly,  pointing  to  the  house 
in  the  shadow  of  the  railroad  embankment.  "  I 
know  you  got  it  there." 

Carol  looked  up  in  surprise.  "How'd  yer 
know  ?    Did  yer  see  me  ?  " 

Marian  was  exultant.  Her  father  could  now 
stop  the  illegal  sales,  she  thought. 

"  You  must  come  right  along  up  to  the  house 
with  us,  Carol." 

The  mountain  girl  held  back,  until  Marian  in- 
sisted with  so  much  vigor  that  she  had  no  choice 
but  to  obey. 

Half-way  home,  they  came  across  Mr.  Daven- 
port who  was  just  returning  from  the  village. 

*'  Papa,  they  do  sell  liquor  in  your  house,"  cried 
Marian.  "Carol  just  bought  some  there.  It's 
here  in  this  jug."  She  pointed  to  the  jug  as  if 
she  feared  it  contained  a  viper  that  might  spring 
out  on  them  any  minute. 

Carol  was  growing  scared  of  the  scene  that  she 
knew  awaited  her  at  home  if  her  part  in  the  dis- 
closure were  revealed. 

"  I  hain't  tole  nothin',"  she  sobbed.  "  She  said 
she  knew  I  got  hit  from  you  uns'  house.  An' 
paw'll  kill  me  if  he  hears  of  this." 

Carol's  Father  249 

"  ril  see  that  he  does  not  hurt  you,  but  you 
must  tell  me  just  how  you  got  the  whisky,"  an- 
swered Mr.  Davenport  lirmly. 

Fiually,  under  his  searchmg  questioning,  she 
admitted  that  she  had  passed  money  and  a  jug 
through  a  hole  into  the  house,  and  that  the  jug 
had  been  returned  to  her  filled. 

"  You  let  me  have  that  w^hisky,  Carol,"  com- 
manded Mr.  Davenport. 

"I  darsen't.     Paw'd  kill  me,"  she  repeated. 

Mr.  Davenport  took  some  money  from  his 
pocket.  "  Here  is  the  same  amount  you  passed 
in  for  the  whisky,  Carol.  Take  it  back  to  your 
father  and  tell  him  the  place  has  been  closed  by 
my  order.  You  will  be  telling  no  lie,  for  I  shall 
immediately  demand  my  lease  back.  The  man 
will  not  dare  object  when  he  finds  out  that  I 
know  what  is  going  on." 

Carol  was  only  too  glad  to  obey.  She  was  old 
enough  to  realize  that  liquor  was  the  great  curse 
on  her  home  life,  for  all  in  her  family  had  suffered 
while  her  father  was  under  its  baneful  influ- 

"  You  uns  air  very  good  to  we  uns,"  she  mur- 
mured, and  then  started  homeward.  Marian 
walked  on  a  little  way  wnth  her. 


"  Can't  you  talk  to  your  father  and  get  him  to 
do  better,  Carol  ?  " 

"  Me  talk  to  him  ?  Hit'd  do  no  good  at  all. 
Maw's  done  talked  to  him  all  mornin'."     She 

250         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

walked  on  a  moment  in  stolid  silence,  then  she 
had  an  unexpected  inspiration. 

"  I  reckon  if  yer'd  talk  to  paw  hit  moight  do 
some  good.  We  uns  have  all  tole  him  how  kind 
you  uns  have  been,  an'  I  reckon  he  moight  listen 
to  yer  this  afternoon  when  he's  sobered  up.  Will 
yer  come  down  ?  " 

Marian's  breath  was  so  taken  away  by  the 
proposition  that  she  stopped  perfectly  still.  Carol 
looked  at  her  wistfully  waiting  for  an  answer. 

"If — if  I  can  come  I  will,"  gasped  Marian 
finally,  and  then  fled  toward  home. 

Carol's  words,  "  hit  moight  do  him  some  good," 
kept  ringing  in  Marian's  ears. 

" '  Hit  moight  do  him  some  good,' — what  pos- 
sible good  could  I  do  ?  "  she  wondered  in  a  petu- 
lant mood.  "  I  wouldn't  know  what  to  say.  I 
hate  to  go.     I  won't  go." 

But  although  she  declared  this  over  and  over 
to  herself,  conscience  finally  drew  her  down  to 
the  hut  rather  late  in  the  afternoon.  She  took 
Duke  with  her  as  she  felt  a  little  less  timid  with 
him  near. 

"  I  can't  say  a  word  to  Carol's  father,"  she  said 
to  herself  at  the  door  of  the  hut.  "  It's  no  good 
at  all  my  coming." 

She  w^as  more  than  half  inclined  to  return 
without  letting  her  coming  be  known,  but  Carol, 
who  had  been  on  the  lookout  for  her  all  the  after- 
noon, spied  her  before  she  could  sneak  away. 

CaroVs  Father  251 

"  I  knew  yer'd  come,"  she  cried,  running  out, 
and  then  she  led  poor,  trembling  Marian  within. 
Duke  followed. 

"  Howdy,"  said  Mrs.  Cornwell  from  the  bed. 
"Carol  said  as  how  yer'd  come,  an'  we've  all 
been  'spectin'  yer.  Sam'el,  here's  one  of  the 
young  ladies  from  the  hill  come  to  see  yer." 

He  sat  with  his  back  to  Marian.  When  he 
found  that  he  could  not  get  liquor,  he  had  con- 
sented to  drink  some  coffee  prepared  by  Carol, 
and  afterward  he  had  eaten  something,  so  that 
now  he  was  perfectly  sober  and  in  a  somewhat 
chastened  mood,  because  he  had  been  unable  to 
escape  the  lecturing  of  his  wife. 

*'  Howdy,"  he  grunted,  but  did  not  turn  to  look 
at  Marian. 

Duke  walked  over  beside  Mr.  Cornwell  and 
sniffed  at  him.  Carol  had  inherited  her  fondness 
for  dogs  from  her  father.  When  in  his  right 
mind,  he  was  always  good  to  animals,  and  now 
he  responded  to  Duke's  advances  by  patting  his 
head.  To  Marian's  surprise,  Duke  did  not 
resent  the  attention.  As  a  rule,  Duke  did  not 
make  friends  so  easily,  especially  with  strange 

"  Duke  sees  that  I'm  trying  to  be  friendly,  and 
he's  helping  me,"  Marian  decided. 

Carol  had  drawn  a  chair  near  to  her  father  for 
Marian,  but  seated  in  it  Marian  felt  more  uncom- 
fortable than  ever.     She  was  even  more  tongue- 

252  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

tied  than  she  had  feared.  She  could  think  of 
absolutely  nothing  to  say. 

"That's  a  moighty  val'ble  dawg,  paw,"  said 
Carol  finally  to  break  the  embarrassing  silence. 
"  How  much  was  hit  yer  sister  tole  me  yer  paw 
was  willin'  to  giv'  for  him  'fore  the  man  made  a 
present  of  him  to  yer  sister  ?  " 

Marian  could  talk  on  this  subject.  "  I've  for- 
gotten just  what  papa  offered,  but  the  man  who 
gave  Duke  to  Beth  had  an  offer  of  a  hundred  dol- 
lars for  him,  but  would  not  take  it.  And  we've 
been  offered  big  prices  for  him,  too,  but  we 
wouldn't  think  of  selling  Duke,  for  we  love  him 
too  much.  Once  in  Jacksonville,  he  was  stolen, 
and  papa  got  him  back  by  giving  a  large  re- 

Samuel  Corn  well  eyed  Duke  with  new  interest. 
"  I  reckon  if  I  had  a  dawg  worth  that  much,  I'd 
sell,"  he  muttered,  "  tho'  I  do  'low  some  dawgs 
air  better  than  mankind,"  he  added,  and  then  set- 
tled back  into  a  gloomy  silence. 

Bashfulness  once  more  seized  upon  Marian. 
Carol  rose,  and  walked  over  to  'Liz'beth  who  was 
whimpering  slightly,  and  patted  her  until  she 
was  quiet.  On  her  way  back,  she  paused  a  mo- 
ment beside  Marian. 

"  Paw's  'shamed  of  hisse'f.  Talk  to  him,"  she 

Marian  felt  more  like  sinking  through  the  floor 
than  ever.     She  could  not  have  done  what  Carol 

CaroVs  Father  253 

wished,  at  the  moment,  not  even  if  she  had  been 
assured  that  by  so  doing  Samuel  Cornwell  would 
be  saved  from  drink  forever.  The  silence  was 
most  embarrassing,  notwithstanding  which  Marian 
had  not  the  power  to  break  it.  She  wondered 
why  she  had  come  when  she  felt  beforehand  that 
she  could  do  no  good. 

"  They'll  blame  me  if  I  leave  without  saying 
anything,  but  I  just  can't  say  a  word,"  she  thought 

"  Yer  know  yer  paw  owns  this  place,  an'  we 
hain't  any  money  to  pay  this  month,"  sighed 
Mrs.  Corn  well. 

"  An'  I  reckon  he'll  be  turnin'  us  out  next," 
added  Samuel  Cornwell  fiercely,  facing  Marian 
for  the  first  time. 

The  cords  of  her  tongue  loosened.  Her  eyes 
were  pathetic  in  the  intentness  of  her  feelings. 
*'  I  know  my  father'll  not  be  hard  on  you,  and  if 
you'd  only  work,  he'd  give  you  plenty  to  do." 

In  answer  he  laughed  harshly.  "  I  hain't  no 
sort  of  good  at  workin'  land,  an'  no  one'll  trust 
me  to  work  at  my  trade." 

"  What  is  your  trade  ?  "  Marian  hoped  to  dis- 
cover something  whereby  he  could  be  helped,  and 
in  her  excitement  she  clasped  her  hands  nerv- 

"  'Fore  I — I "     He  almost  said  "  before  I 

drank,"  but  suddenly  grew  ashamed  of  his  sin  in 
the  presence  of  his  visitor.     "  I  was  a  carpenter 

254         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

years  gone  by,  but  when  we  uns  came  up  this 
here  way  thar  war  nothin'  fer  me  to  do  'cept 
plough  rocky  land,  an'  I  hain't  cut  out  fer  no  sech 
work  as  that.     I  hate  hit  an'  I'll  not  do  hit." 

Marian  was  thinking,  "  If  he's  a  carpenter,  as 
he  says,  he's  the  very  man  to  help  us  out  of  our 

She  turned  to  him  with  shining  eyes.  "  I've 
thought  of  something  that  you  can  do  to  help 
your  family,  Mr.  Cornwell." 

He  had  not  been  spoken  to  in  such  kindly  tones 
for  a  long  while.  He  stirred  uneasily  in  his  chair, 
and  tried  to  keep  his  eyes  from  her  pleading  face, 
but  she  attracted  him  to  her  in  spite  of  himself. 

"  You  know  we're  getting  up  an  entertainment 
for  the  benefit  of  the  baby — your  baby,  little 
Elizabeth,"  continued  the  pleading,  eager  young 
voice.  *•  We're  to  have  it  down  here,  and  we 
need  a  platform,  oh,  so  much.  I  know  my  father 
would  furnish  the  material  if  you'd  only  build  it 
for  us.  Please  say  you  will,  and  I'll  be  so  happy. 
Your  family  will  be  so  glad  to  have  you  working 
for  them.     Will  you  build  it  for  us  ?  " 

"  Oh,  paw,"  cried  Carol. 

"  Sam'el,  I'll  forgive  a  heap  if  you'll  do  hit," 
murmured  his  wife. 

He  muttered  something  about  "  not  bein'  pes- 
tered with  women  folks." 

"  Oh,  paw,"  repeated  Carol,  on  the  verge  of 

CaroVs  Father  iSS 

"  Do  it  because  you  want  to  help,"  cried  Marian, 
jumping  up  in  her  eagerness. 

He  had  fully  intended  to  refuse,  but  could  not 
withstand  the  pleading  in  her  face.  For  a  mo- 
ment he  said  nothing,  until  Duke  who  had  risen 
stood  by  him  as  if  to  add  his  persuasion  to  the 
others.  Unconsciously,  CornwelPs  hand  sought 
the  dog's  head  and  rested  gently  there. 

"  Well,  well,"  he  said  gruffly,  "  seein's  how  yer 
want  hit  so  much,  an'  if  my  foot's  better,  an'  yer 
don't  pester  me  no  more,  I'll  do  hit." 

"  Oh,  thank  you,  Mr.  Corn  well ;  you're  a  very 
nice  man.  I  must  run  now  and  tell  the  others," 
and  Marian  departed  with  a  very  much  lighter 


The  Entertainment 

The  day  of  the  entertainment  dawned  as  bright 
as  even  Beth  desired.  She  was  awake  long  be- 
fore it  was  time  to  rise,  nevertheless  she  dressed 
and  hurried  down  to  the  kitchen,  but,  much  to 
her  disappointment,  Maggie  was  not  yet  visible. 

"I'll  measure  out  things,  anyway,"  decided 
Beth.  And  she  bustled  around  getting  out  sugar, 
butter,  eggs  and  other  necessary  ingredients  for 
cake,  and  thus  Maggie  found  her.  The  cook  had 
to  rub  her  eyes  to  make  sure  that  she  was  fully 

"  Law,  honey,  what  yo'  doin'  in  my  kitchen  dis 
early  ?  Yo'  surely  ought  to  be  gettin'yo'  beauty 
sleep  so's  to  look  fine  for  the  en'tainment." 

"  Maggie,  it  just  came  to  me  last  night  that  it 
would  make  the  affair  more  socialabler " — she 
sometimes  invented  words  for  her  own  use — "  if  we 
were  to  furnish  'freshments,  so  mamma  promised 
that  we  could  have  lemonade  and  cake,  and  I'm 
to  make  the  cake  myself.  Julia  and  Marian  are 
just  to  help  with  frostings.  Isn't  it  too  lovely  for 
anything,  Maggie  ?  " 

26o         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Her  mammy  did  not  look  as  enthusiastic  as 
Beth  expected. 

"  Hump,"  she  muttered,  "  yo'  'specs  me  to 
think  it  too  lovely  fer  anythin'  when  yo'  come 
'round  so  early  in  de  mornin'  mussin'  my  kitchen 
all  up  ?  How  yo'  'specs  I'se  to  get  breakfas'  if 
yo's  under  my  feet  ?  " 

"  Now  Maggie,  dear " 

"  I  ain't  dear  nothin'.  I'll  not  have  it,  an'  yo' 
might  as  well  get  out  of  my  kitchen  firs'  as  las'. 
So  go  'long  wid  yo'." 

Beth  knew  there  was  no  arguing  with  Maggie 
when  in  her  present  mood.  The  cook  was  the 
autocrat  of  the  kitchen,  and  if  she  persisted  in 
her  waywardness  there  would  be  no  cake  served 
that  day. 

*'  Just  as  you  say,  Maggie,"  Beth  answered 
meekly,  knowing  w^ell  how  best  to  attain  her 
ends,  "  but  you  do  want  the  entertainment  to  be 
a  success,  so  please  help  me  with  the  cakes  after 
breakfast.     There's  a  dear." 

"  Hump,"  muttered  Maggie  for  the  second 
time,  but  she  w^as  almost  smiling  now.  "  We'll 
see  later,"  she  added  as  Beth  was  leaving,  so  that 
Beth  knew  that  she  had  carried  the  day. 

Mr.  Davenport  was  the  next  member  of  the 
household  to  arise. 

"  Papa,  let's  take  a  walk  down  to  the  hollow," 
proposed  Beth.  "  Maggie  is  just  starting  break- 
fast and  so  we  have  plenty  of  time.     I  want  to 

The  Entertainment  261 

make  sure  the  platform  is  done.  You  know  it 
wasn't  quite  finislied  last  night,  but  Mr.  Cornvvell 
promised  to  work  at  it  this  morning." 

As  they  started  down  the  hill,  she  continued, 
"  Wasn't  it  fine  for  Marian  to  think  of  his  help- 
ing us  ?  He's  done  extra  well,  too.  You  said  so 
yourself,  and  I  w^ant  you  to  get  him  work." 

He  smiled  at  her  eagerness.  "  We'll  see  how 
sober  he  keeps." 

"He'll  ha\,^e  to  keep  sober  now  that  they've 
stopped  selling  liquor  at  your  house." 

He  would  not  tell  her  so,  but  he  knew  there 
were  other  ways  for  a  drinking  man  to  get  liquor 
even  in  a  ''  dry  "  town. 

"  Beth,"  he  said  to  change  the  subject,  "  you 
have  us  all  guessing  what  you've  planned  to  have 
Carol  do  this  afternoon." 

She  smiled  up  at  him  brightly.  "That's  a 
great  secret.  It  was  very  hard  to  get  her  to 
promise  to  do  it,  but  now  that  she  has,  I  think 
you'll  all  like  what  she  does,  if  she  doesn't  get 

scared.     I    don't  know  much  about  s Oh, 

there,  I  most  told  you — but  I  think  she  does  '  it ' 
pretty  well.  Isn't  it  a  lovely  day  ?  "  she  cried 
changing  the  subject  for  fear  she  might  unwit- 
tingly betray  her  secret,  and  she  pranced  on 
ahead  so  full  of  joy  was  she  over  the  prospects 
of  the  day  before  her. 

Soon  she  saw  Carol  and  her  brothers  and  sisters 
standing  on  the  platform  Mr.  Cornwell  had  built. 

262         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Hit's  all  done,"  called  Carol  up  to  her.  "  Paw 
got  up  very  early  an'  went  to  work,  but  the 
minute  he  wuz  through,  he  started  right  off,  an' 
maw's  worried  fer  fear "  She  stopped  ab- 
ruptly as  she  did  not  wish  to  cast  any  shadow  over 
Beth  on  this  day  of  all  days.  "  I'm  so  glad  the 
sun  is  shinin',"  she  addded  as  Mr.  Davenport 
and  Beth  drew  near. 

Beth's  face  fairly  beamed.  "  Everything's 
going  beautifully.  We  were  worried  about 
Julia's  dress  not  coming,  but  she  finally  got  it  on 
last  night's  train.  It  had  gone  to  Asheville  by 
mistake.  You  just  ought  to  see  all  our  dresses. 
We  all  have  new  ones  and  they're  beauties.  Come 
up  some  time  this  morning  and  I'll  show  them  to 

A  shadow  that  Beth  did  not  notice,  fell  over 
Carol's  face  and,  as  the  mountain  girl  was  still 
intent  on  keeping  all  trouble  from  her,  she  gave 
no  voice  to  the  matter  that  had  just  made  her 
heart  heavy. 

Not  until  Beth  and  her  father  had  departed, 
did  she  give  way  to  her  feelings.  Then  she  sank 
down  on  a  step  of  the  platform  and  her  head 
sank  dejectedly  into  her  hands. 

"What's  the  matter,  Carol?"  asked  one  of 
the  children  eyeing  her  curiously. 

"  Nothin',"  she  answered  dully,  and  then 
added  crossly,  "  Go  'long,  every  one  of  yer.  I 
hain't  in  no  mood  to  be  bothered  by  any  of  yer." 

The  Entertainment  263 

"  Carol ! "  called  her  mother  at  the  moment, 
*'  'Liz'beth's  cryin\     Come  an'  take  her." 

She  choked  the  sob  that  contracted  her  throat ; 
wiped  the  tears  from  her  eyes,  and  then  went  for 
the  baby. 

With  'Liz'beth  once  in  her  arms,  she  hurried 
outside  beyond  the  sight  of  any  one,  and  then 
sank  down  on  a  log.  She  no  longer  tried  to  still 
the  tempest  that  was  raging  within.  With  her 
charge  held  very  close,  her  tears  fell  on  the 
whimpering  child. 

"  Hit's  most  fer  yer  I  mind,"  she  sobbed.  "  I 
can't  take  yer  the  way  yer  air,  an'  she'll  be  dread- 
ful dis'pinted.  How  kin  I  tell  her  ?  How  kin 
I  do  hit,  but  I  jes'  must." 

In  happy  unconsciousness  of  the  trouble  she 
had  caused,  the  morning  passed  quickly  to  Beth. 
Toward  noon  several  fine  cakes  besides  lemon 
juice  and  sherbet  glasses  were  borne  in  triumph 
down  to  the  hollow.  Not  until  then  did  Beth 
wonder  why  Carol  had  not  put  in  an  appearance. 

*'  Gustus,  do  you  know  what's  become  of 
Carol  ?  "  she  asked. 

"  I  ain't  seen  her.  Missy  Beth." 

She  looked  slightly  troubled.  "  You  must  find 
her  for  me,  Gustus.  I  forgot  to  tell  her  to  come 
up  to  my  room  after  lunch,  and  it  will  spoil  the 
whole  afternoon  if  she  don't  come.  So  you  must 
find  her  for  me." 

Gustus'  eyes  rolled  tragically,  for  he  was  very 

264         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

much  interested.  "  Don't  yo'  worry,  Missy  Betli, 
fer  I'll  shurelv  hav'  her  thar  fer  yo'." 

Notwithstanding  this  reassurance,  Beth  was 
troubled  for  fear  her  surprise  for  Carol  would  be 

"  Can't  you  find  her  ?  "  she  cried  eagerly,  when 
Gustus  came  into  the  dining-room  toward  the 
close  of  the  noonday  meal,  looking  very  hot  and 

"  Ain't  found  her  yet,  Missy  Beth,  but  I  jes' 
came  to  tole  yo'  dat  she  wuz  seen  up  disaway 
wid  de  baby,  but  she's  nowhars  'bout  now  as  I 
kin  see." 

Tears  came  into  Beth's  eyes.  "  How  could  I 
forget  to  tell  her  to  come  up  ? "  she  murmured 

"Never  mind,  Beth,  she's  sure  to  be  found. 
Go  up  and  dress  yourself,  and  by  the  time  you're 
ready  Gustus  will  have  found  her,"  said  Marian, 
trying  to  hold  a  cheerful  view  of  the  situation, 
although  she,  too,  was  disappointed  that  the 
mountain  girl  was  not  on  hand,  knowing  the 
surprise  Beth  had  in  store  for  her. 

On  the  way  up-stairs  Beth  was  only  a  little 
cheered,  for  if  Carol  were  not  found  her  own 
pleasure  in  her  own  new  gown  would  be  spoiled. 
She  opened  the  door  of  her  room  more  quietly 
than  ordinarily. 

"  Oh ! "  she  exclaimed,  surprised  and  greatly 
pleased.    Carol,  with  'Liz'beth  in  her  arms,  was 

The  Entertainment  265 

seated  in  a  rocker  facing  the  south  window.  She 
jumped  to  her  feet,  pressing  'Liz'beth  convulsively 
to  her  breast,  and  held  her  there  with  one  arm 
while  she  raised  the  other  to  brush  some  tears 
from  her  cheeks. 

"  Carol,  what's  the  matter  ?  You  mustn't  cry 
on  the  afternoon  of  your  entertainment,"  Beth 
cried,  rushing  over  beside  her  protege. 

Carol  was  too  embarrassed  and  too  miserable 
to  speak.  She  sobbed  outright.  Then  'Liz'beth 
began  to  whimper,  and  the  two  cried  together. 

Beth  was  at  her  wits'  end.  It  was  time  to  be 
dressing,  and  she  knew  not  what  to  do  to  cheer 
her  two  guests,  and  then  there  was  Gustus  hunt- 
ing Carol.     He,  too,  should  be  getting  ready. 

"  Maggie,"  she  called,  running  to  the  head  of 
the  stairs,  ^*  Carol's  up  here.  Please  call  Gustus 
and  tell  him  to  get  ready." 

^'  All  right,  honey." 

*'  Now  see  here,  Carol,  this  will  never  do,"  con- 
tinued Beth,  once  more  going  over  beside  her. 
"  If  you  and  'Liz'beth  cry,  the  people  will  see  it 
this  afternoon." 

"No,  they  won't,"  burst  out   Carol   between 

sobs.     "You   uns'U   hate   me   fer  hit,  but " 

sobs  choked  her  so  that  she  could  not  go  on. 

Beth  was  getting  desperate.  "  Stop  this  min- 
ute, Carol,  and  tell  me  what's  the  matter." 

"'Liz'beth  an'  me  hain't  to  take  part.  We 
can't  do  hit." 

266         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Beth  sank  down  on  a  chair.  "Not  take  part? 
You  must." 

Carol  shook  her  head  stubbornly,  but  said  no 
more.  Whereupon  Beth  jumped  up  and  put  her 
arms  around  the  girl. 

"  You  wouldn't  spoil  everything,  Carol?  Now 
let  me  take  'Liz'beth  while  you  dry  your  eyes. 
We  must  dress." 

Carol  clung  more  steadfastly  to  the  baby.  Her 
lip  trembled  pathetically,  while  she  gulped  down 
her  sobs. 

"  That's  hit,"  she  murmured.     "  'Liz'beth  an' 

me  hain't  anythin'  to "    She  paused  ashamed. 

"  You  uns  won't  understand,  but  I  can't  disgrace 
yer  even  though  yer  thinks  hit  pride,  an'  I  hain't 
no  money  to  buy  new  things.  Yer  wouldn't  want 
us  to  'pear  in  these  duds,  would  yer  ?  " 

With  light  as  to  the  cause  of  Carol's  refusal  to 
take  part,  joy  flooded  Beth's  soul.  She  tore  over 
to  the  bed,  and  seized  a  pretty  white  gown  that 
lay  next  to  her  own. 

"  Oh,  I'm  so  glad  we  thought  of  it ! "  she  cried, 
turning  a  beaming  face  toward  the  puzzled  girl 
in  the  room  with  her.  "  I'm  so  glad  I'd  most 
outgrown  it,  aren't  you  ?  " 

"  Glad  ?  "  repeated  Carol,  more  puzzled.  "  Hit 
am  jes'  grand,  but  hit  looks  rale  small  fer  yer." 

Beth  laughed  outright.  With  the  dress  thrown 
over  her  shoulder,  she  seized  Carol,  still  with  the 
baby,  and  tried  to  whirl  her  around. 

The  Entertdinment  267 

"  So  you  like  it  ?  I  think  it'll  just  fit  you,  Carol." 

"Fit  me?" 

"  Yes,  it's  for  you."  Beth  let  go  her  hold  to 
watch  the  effect  of  her  words. 

Carol's  eyes  almost  popped  out  of  her  head. 
To  her  the  idea  of  possessing  anything  so  dainty 
as  the  dress  in  question  seemed  incredible. 

"  Me — me  to  have  hit  ?  "  she  gasped,  hugging 
the  baby  so  tight  that  its  wizened  face  puckered 
until  it  was  on  the  verge  of  crying  again. 

"  Of  course,  you're  to  have  it,  if  you  care  for 

"Care  for  hit?"  and  then  Carol  burst  into 
tears  once  more. 

"Why,  what's  the  matter  now?"  Beth  was 
afraid  she  was  hurt  over  being  offered  second- 
hand clothing. 

"I  never  'spected  nothin'  so  grand  after  we 
uns  heard  our  money  warn't  comin',"  she  an- 
swered  between  sobs,  and  while  she  patted 

"  It  isn't  a  bit  too  grand  for  you."  Beth  was 
overjoyed  at  the  success  of  her  surprise.  "  Lay 
'Liz'beth  on  the  bed  while  you  and  I  dress,  and 
you  can  look  over  these  other  things  I  have  for 

Still  Carol  hesitated.  Her  face  was  again 

"  What's  the  matter  now  ?  "  Beth  cried,  noting 
her  expression. 

268         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Carol  hung  her  head.  "  I — I  was  only  wishin' 
hit  would  go  on  'Liz'beth.  Couldn't  we  pin  hit 
on  her  so  hit  wouldn't  look  bad  ?  I  don't  mind 
'bout  myself  if  she  looks  perat-like." 

Beth  was  ashamed  of  her  momentary  impa- 
tience. "  You're  a  dear,  unselfish  girl,  and  I'm  a 
very  thoughtless  one.     I've " 

"You're  the  best  I  ever  knowed,"  murmured 
Carol,  with  her  eyes  slightly  dim. 

Beth  drew  her  over  toward  the  bed. 

"  Mrs.  Morton  was  the  one  to  think  of  them," 
she  said,  but  Carol  could  not  imagine  what  she 
meant  until  Beth  grasped  an  armful  of  dainty 
white  from  the  bed  and  added  : 

"  She  sent  North  for  these  for  'Liz'beth.  They 
belonged  to  her  baby,  and  at  first  she  thought 
she  couldn't  part  with  them,  but  now  she  really 
wants  'Liz'beth  to  wear  them  to-day,  and  you're 
to  own  them  afterward,  too." 

"  Oh,"  gasped  Carol.  Her  heart  was  full  to 
running  over,  still  she  had  no  words  to  express 
her  joy.  She  could  only  stand  and  eye  her  won- 
drous gifts  reverently,  not  daring  yet  even  to 
touch  them. 

"  Are  you  really  pleased  ?  "  asked  Beth,  fearful 
that  Carol  did  not  fully  appreciate  Mrs.  Morton's 
generosity.  "  What  shall  I  say  to  Mrs.  Morton 
for  you,  or  will  you  thank  her  yourself  ?  " 

"  That's  hit.     I  kin  never  find  words  to  make 

The  Entertainment  269 

her  know  how  I  feel,  but  maybe  yer  kin  tell  her 
fer  me.'* 

"  How  do  you  feel,  Carol  ? '' 

For  a  moment  she  could  not  answer.  Only 
after  a  struggle  did  she  voice  her  joy. 

"  I  feel  like  'Liz'beth  an'  me  was  bein'  clothed 
in  heavenly  white.  I  heard  a  sermon  'bout  bein' 
clothed  in  the  white  the  Bible  tells  'bout,"  she 
explained,  and  now  that  wonder  had  given  place 
to  joy  in  her  expression,  Beth  was  more  than  sat- 
isfied. Carol  gained  courage  and  stepped  nearer 
to  the  treasures,  and  even  touched  some  of  the 
lace,  but  very  carefully,  as  if  it  were  of  a  cob- 
webby nature  that  might  be  hurt  by  a  touch. 

"  I  understand  how  Mrs.  Morton  feels  'bout 
any  one  wearin'  her  baby's  clothes,"  she  contin- 
ued, "  an'  hit  am  powerful  good  in  her  to  let  we 
uns  have  'um,  an'  please  tell  her  fer  me  I'll  al- 
ways be  very  careful  when  'Liz'beth  has  'um  on 
jes'  like  people  air  of  their  clothes  at  meetin'. 
They're  so  grand  I'll  always  hav'  that  feelin' 
'bout  um  anyway." 

Beth  wished  that  Mrs.  Morton  could  see  and 
hear  her,  but  she  intended  to  do  her  best  describ- 
ing Carol's  joy.  She  was  sorry  she  could  not 
talk  more  on  the  subject,  but  she  knew  it  was  time 
for  them  to  be  dressing. 

"  Maggie,  will  you  come  up  and  dress  'Liz'- 
beth ?  "  she  called,  running  to  the  door. 

270         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Carol  looked  wistful.  "  Let  me  dress  her.  I'd 
jes'  love  to  do  hit." 

Beth  shook  her  head.  "  You'll  not  have  time. 
We  must  get  ready  ourselves  while  Maggie's  fix- 
ing her." 

A  moment  later  Maggie  came  puffing  into  the 
room  and  took  the  baby  from  Carol. 

"  Hump,"  she  muttered,  and  then  added,  "  I'm 
jes'  'cited  to  know  what  yo'  thinks  ob  all  dese 
gran'  new  fixin's,  an'  ob  my  little  missy  here  fer 
gettin'  so  many  frills  for  yo'  an'  de  chile.  Eh, 
tell  me  dat  now  ?  " 

"  Maggie,  don't  bother  us,"  begged  Beth,  coax- 


Carol  looked  up  into  the  black  face  wistfully. 
"  She's — she's  powerful  good,"  she  faltered  as 
much  at  a  loss  for  words  as  she  had  been  a  few 
minutes  before  when  thinking  of  Mrs.  Morton's 
kindness.  Then,  overcoming  her  bashfulness,  she 
added,  "  I  love  her  mor'n  any  one  in  all  the  worl' 
'less  hit  be  'Liz'beth  thar,  an'  I  only  love  her 
more  'cause  she  needs  me  so  very  much." 

"  Carol,  we  must  hurry,"  cautioned  Beth  not 
wishing  Maggie  to  draw  out  any  more  praise 
for  her. 

But  Maggie  was  softened,  and  while  she  washed 
and  dressed  the  baby,  she  thought : 

"  I  'lowed  I  knowed  all  'bout  pooh  white  trash, 
an'  at  firs'  I  counted  Carol  as  one  ob  dem,  but  I 
reckon  I  wuz  clean  'staken.    Dey  ain't  grateful 

The  Entertainment  271 

an'  she  certainly  am.  Maybe  my  honey  lamb 
knows  moah  dan  her  black  mammy  heah,  an' 
Carol's  dif  runt  dan  I  'lowed." 

Meantime  Carol  had  difficulty  in  dressing  her- 
self so  intent  was  she  on  the  transformation  that 
Maggie  was  bringing  about,  but  as  Beth  would 
not  allow  her  to  stop  in  her  own  toilet,  by  the 
time  Maggie  had  'Liz'beth  all  arrayed  in  her  new 
finery,  the  two  girls  themselves  were  ready. 

Then  Carol  gazed  with  all  her  might  at  'Liz- 
'beth, and  the  look  in  her  eyes  made  Maggie's 
own  eyes  moist,  so  that  she  placed  the  baby  in 
Carol's  arms.  Carol  held  the  little  one  reverently 
looking  down  at  her  charge  as  if  she  had  an  angel 
direct  from  God. 

"  She  done  has  a  look  jes'  like  some  ob  dem 
maidonners  dat  Miss  Mary  has  in  de  pictures 
down-stairs,"  speculated  Maggie  to  herself. 

Carol  turned  to  Beth.  "  Hain't  she  peart-like  ? 
Hain't  she  sweet  ?  I  didn't  'low  she  could  'pear 
so  grand." 

Her  enthusiasm  touched  Beth,  although  she 
could  not  view  the  baby  with  Carol's  eyes.  Beth 
only  saw  a  wizened  child  less  unattractive  than 
usual  because  of  the  neatness,  the  daintiness  of  its 
attire.  But  to  Carol,  'Liz'beth  was  transformed 
so  that  she  was  actually  beautiful. 

"  Oh,  I'll  not  be  scared  now,"  cried  Carol  as 
she  gazed  rapturously,  "  an'  I'll  sure  do  yer 
proud.     Why  I  could  face  a  lot  of  " — she  paused 

272         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

for  a  word  sufficiently  strong  to  voice  her  senti- 
ment, "  a  lot  of  bars,"  she  added,  "  an'  not  be  a 
mite  scared.  I'll  jes'  think  of  this  beaut'ful  baby, 
an'  my  heart'll  clean  well  over." 

"  And  I  never  saw  you  look  so  nice.  The  dress 
fits  you  as  if  it  were  made  for  you.  Why,  Carol, 
you're  really  pretty  in  it."  Then  Beth  blushed 
fearing  that  the  mountain  girl  might  see  that 
never  before  had  she  thought  her  good  looking. 
"  It's  very  becoming,"  she  added  in  confusion, 
"  but  it's  because  you're  so  proud  and  pleased 
about  'Liz'beth  that  makes  you  look  the  nicest." 

''  That's  hit."     Carol  was  not  hurt  but  pleased. 

"Are  you  ready,  Beth?"  called  Julia  at 
the  door.  "  Marian  and  Harvey  have  gone 

"  Come  in  and  let  us  see  how  you  look,"  cried 
Beth.  "  Oh,"  she  gasped  at  sight  of  her  little 
friend.  "  You  look  more  like  a  cherub  than 

Julia,  arrayed  in  a  costume  she  had  worn  in  a 
flower  dance  in  Florida,  stood  in  the  middle  of 
the  room,  flushing  with  pleasure  over  their  evi- 
dent admiration. 

"  Yo's  jes'  like  a  Floridah  rose  come  to  life," 
commented  Maggie. 

Carol  who  felt  called  upon  to  say  something, 
was  decidedly  at  a  loss  for  words  but  managed  to 
say,  "yer  look  like  a — a — well,  rale,  rale  peart- 

The  Entertainment  273 

"  I  never  saw  you  look  better,"  answered  Julia 

Carol  held  up  the  baby.  "  An'  jes'  see  'Liz'- 
beth.  Hain't  she  a  rale  little  beauty  ?  "We  uns 
air  so  fine  an'  we  owe  hit  all  to  her  " — looking 
toward  Beth,  "an'  to  Mrs.  Morton.  We  uns  kin 
never  do  'nuff  fer  um." 

"  We'd  better  hurry,"  interrupted  Beth.  "  Mag- 
gie, are  you  coming  down  with  us  ?  " 

Maggie  tossed  her  head.  '*  Law,  honey,  don't 
yo'  reckon  I  has  to  spruce  up  firs'  myself  ?  I'se 
goin'  to  wear  all  de  finery  I  has  to  do  yo'  proud. 
Yes,  'deed,  honey,  so  run  'long  wid  yo'." 

"  Lots  of  people  are  sure  to  come.  It's  such  a 
fine  afternoon,"  declared  Julia  on  the  way  to  the 
hollow.  Summer  warmth  was  in  the  streaming 
sunshine  but  was  pleasantly  tempered  by  a  cool- 
ing breeze. 

"  To  think  that  the  summer  is  o^oino^  to  be  such 
a  nice  one  when  it  began  so  badly  for  me  makes 
me  too  happy  for  anything,"  cried  Beth,  skipping 
joyously  ahead  of  the  others.  "  I've  a  feeling 
that  only  good  can  come  to  me  now,  which  makes 
me  glad  all  the  time.  I  haven't  told  you,  Carol, 
that  papa  has  promised  to  take  us  camping  very 
soon,  and  perhaps  you  can  come  up  and  visit  us." 

"  Me — me  to  go  campin'  ?  I'd  like  that  power- 
ful well." 

"  Harvey's  having  a  great  time  with  the  cur- 
tain," called  Marian  who  saw  them  coming. 

274         -A.  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Then  they  all  hurried  up  on  the  platform 
where  both  Harvey  and  Gustus  were  striving  to 
see  what  was  wrong  with  the  ropes  strung  from 
two  poles  by  which  they  meant  to  slide  the  cur. 
tain  draped  across  the  front  of  the  platform. 

"  They  don't  go  unless  we  pull  them  by  hand," 
explained  Harvey.  "  I  can't  fix  them  and  it's  too 
late  to  get  any  one." 

"  I'll  tell  you  what  we'll  do  then,"  announced 
Beth  undaunted.  "  We'll  take  turns  pulling  them 
back.  We  can  hide  behind  the  curtain  like  this." 
To  illustrate,  she  drew  one  half  of  the  curtain 
back  and  pulled  it  around  her. 

"  Put  it  back  quick,  Beth.  Some  one's  coming," 
whispered  Marian. 

Beth  peeked  around  the  curtain.  "  It's  papa 
and  mamma.  They're  to  receive  the  people,  you 
know.  Papa'll  fix  the  curtain  for  us.  No  he 
can't.  There  come  some  other  people  back  of 
them."     She  hastily  ran  the  curtain  into  place. 

Gustus  stood  eyeing  her  wistfully.  "  Yo'  specs 
they'll  like  my  dancin',  Missy  Beth  ?  "  he  asked, 
as  she  retreated  toward  the  middle  of  the  stage. 

"  Of  course  they  will,  Gustus."  But  she  was 
so  excited  that  she  paid  little  attention  to  him 
which  made  him  look  at  her  most  reproachfully. 

"  Yo'  ain't  nebber  onct  spoke  how  fine  I  is, 
Missy  Beth." 

She  looked  contrite.  "  I'm  forgetting  heaps  of 
things  to-day,  Gustus.     I  just  wish  your  mamma 

The  Entertainment  275 

could  see  you.     She'd  hardly  know  her  own  son, 
I  believe." 

Her  mind  was  traveling  back  over  the  years  to 
the  time  she  had  discovered  Gustus  a  ragged  out- 
cast. That  the  boy  now  before  her,  neatly 
dressed  and  with  his  black  face  scrubbed  so  clean 
that  it  was  shiny,  could  ever  have  been  unkempt 
seemed  almost  impossible. 

''  Why  wouldn't  she  know  me  ? "  he  asked, 
hungering  for  flattery. 

"  Because  you  look  so  very,  very  fine,  Gustus," 
she  answered  sufficiently  enthusiastic  to  satisfy 
even  him. 

With  her  thoughts  turned  to  the  subject  of 
dress,  Beth  noted  that  Marian  looked  unusually 
well  in  a  shirred  gown  of  pink,  and  that  Harvey 
appeared  very  manly  even  though  he  wore  knee- 
breeches  like  the  master  of  a  circus  ring. 

"  Lots  of  people  are  coming,"  called  Marian 
with  her  eyes  glued  to  the  parting  in  the  curtain. 

"  We're  going  to  have  a  crowd  sure,"  Julia 
said  pirouetting  around  the  stage  in  her  delight. 

*'  I'd  better  see  that  the  dogs  are  all  right  as 
they're  second  on  the  program,"  said  Harvey,  run- 
ning down  back  of  the  platform  to  where  they 
were  tied. 

Beth,  greatly  excited,  went  over  beside  Marian 
to  peek,  too. 

"  They  have  to  crowd  together,"  she  whispered, 
hereyesshiniug.     "There  comes  Maggie.     Papa's 

276         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

making  room  on  the  front  seat  for  her.  My,  isn't 
she  fine !  She  has  on  that  green  silk  dress  that  she 
treasures  so.  "What  do  you  think  of  that,  Marian 
Davenport  ?  That  shows  that  she  takes  as  much 
interest  as  any  of  us.  I  really  believe  she's  got- 
ten so  that  she's  fond  of  Carol,  although  she 
hasn't  owned  it  to  me." 

"  It's  most  time  to  begin,"  said  Harvey  a  mo- 
ment later,  bringing  a  chair  up  on  the  platform 
with  him.  Beth  hustled  Carol  and  the  baby  over 
in  it.  Then  she  skipped  back  to  the  opening  to 
have  one  last  look  before  they  pulled  back  the 

Her  heart  leaped  convulsively.  Every  seat 
appeared  to  be  occupied,  and  still  people  were 
flocking  down  the  hill.  Where  could  they  all  be 
seated  ?  she  wondered. 

Then  she  saw  her  father  and  the  minister  who 
had  loaned  the  benches,  bring  forward  some  logs 
across  which  they  stretched  planks  that  had  been 
left  from  the  stage. 

Unaccountable  fear  seized  upon  Beth.  Instead 
of  pleasing  her  as  it  had  at  first,  the  sea  of  faces 
now  terrified  her.  How  had  mere  children  like 
themselves  dared  undertake  to  amuse  so  many 
people?  Notwithstanding  the  crowd  present, 
the  affair  would  be  an  utter  failure.  If  they 
were  all  as  scared  as  she,  they  could  do  nothing 
as  they  had  planned,  and  as  for  Carol,  Beth  hardly 
dared  think  how  the  crowd  would  affect  her. 

The  Entertainment  277 

"I  shouldn't  have  asked  her  to  take  part," 
thought  Beth.  "  She'll  be  frightened  out  of 
her  wits  and  spoil  everything  from  the  very 
beginning.  Why  did  I  insist  on  having  her 
first  ?  " 

She  hurried  over  to  Carol  and  whispered,  "  Re- 
member, you're  to  think  of  'Liz'beth.  You  prom- 
ised me  that,  and  you  mustn't  get  scared." 

Carol  smiled.  "  She's  so  peart-like,  I'm  thinkin' 
of  nothin'  else,  an'  my  heart's  singin'  in  me 

Beth  was  not  greatly  reassured.  "  Just  wait 
until  she  sees  the  crowd,  and  then  she'll  think  of 
something  else,"  she  thought,  and  gave  a  nervous 
start  as  the  audience  began  clapping,  which  only 
made  her  more  agitated. 

"  The}'^  want  us  to  begin,"  murmured  Harvey. 

Beth  looked  at  him  and  saw  that  he  was  pale 
himself.  "He's  afraid  she'll  fail,  too,"  she 
thought,  but  she  would  have  been  more  troubled 
if  she  had  dreamed  that  he  was  nervous  on  his 
own  account. 

"Harvey,  they're  getting  impatient.  Go  on 
out,"  commanded  Marian. 

After  hesitating  another  moment,  he  stepped 
through  the  opening  between  the  curtains  and 
bowed  to  the  audience.  New  applause  greeted 
him,  and  he  had  to  wait  for  the  noise  to  die 

"  It's  all  quiet  now,  why  don't  he  go  on  with 

278         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

his  speech  ?  "  whispered  Beth  to  Julia.  "  They're 
waiting,  and  he  shouldn't  keep  them  waiting." 

"  Ladies  and  gentlemen,"  began  Harvey,  and 
then  stopped. 

Once  more  they  clapped,  and  some  one  called, 
"Hear,  hear." 

Whereupon  a  dead  silence  again  reigned,  while 
Harvey  stood  pale  and  trembling  before  them. 
Stage  fright  had  seized  upon  him  so  that  every 
word  of  his  speech  went  from  him. 

"  Carol  and  the  baby  'Liz'beth,"  he  announced, 
and  hurriedly  fled  back  of  the  curtains. 

"  Harvey,  go  out  again,"  implored  Beth.  "  It's 
a  shame  for  them  not  to  hear  that  lovely  speech 
you  had  such  a  time  making  up  and  learning." 

But  he  was  deaf  to  her  appeal.  "  Pull  the  cur- 
tain back,"  he  whispered.  "We've  told  about 
Carol  and  'Liz'beth  all  over  town,  so  that  people 
will  understand  just  as  well." 

He  began  pulling  back  his  side  of  the  curtain, 
and  Beth  saw  there  was  nothing  to  do  but  draw 
back  her  side,  too. 

Another  round  of  applause  followed.  Carol 
looked  up  troubled,  so  that  Beth  feared  that 
stage  fright  was  going  to  overmaster  her  also. 

"  They're  clapping  because  'Liz'beth  looks  so 
sweet,"  she  whispered  across  to  Carol.  She  never 
even  blushed  over  the  falsehood. 

Carol's  face  immediately  lighted  up,  although 
tears  came  into  her  blue  eyes  feeling  their  kind- 

The  Entertainment  279 

ness  so  deeply.  Suddenly  she  held  the  baby  out 
so  the  people  could  the  better  see  her  darling. 

"  You  uns  air  powerful  good,"  she  murmured. 
The  clapping  ceased,  to  hear  what  she  was  saying. 
Beth's  heart  stopped  beating  an  instant,  and  then 
began  thumping  wildly.  That  Carol  should  speak 
was  not  down  on  the  program,  and  Beth  greatly 
feared  that  she  might  say  something  that  she 
should  not. 

"  A  nice,  kind  lady  guv  these  air  grand  clothes 
to  'Liz'beth,"  continued  Carol,  feeling  instinctively 
that  Mrs.  Morton  would  not  like  her  name  used, 
"  an'  Beth  Davenport  guv  me  my  dress.  If  hit — 
I  should  say  it.  She's  teachin'  me  that — if  it 
hadn't  been  for  her,  we  uns'd  hav'  starved.  I 
can't  tell  how  good  she's  been." 

"  Hush,  hush,"  murmured  Beth,  overcome,  but 
Carol  was  so  intent  on  what  she  had  to  say  that 
she  would  not  heed. 

"  She  'lowed  that  I  should  sing  for  you  uns.  I 
hain't  never  had  no  lessons  'cept  from  Don — he 
wuz  my  robin  an'  he  sung  powerful  pretty.  1 
don't  sing  as  nice  as  him,  but  Beth  Davenport 
tole  me  to  sing  jes'  as  I  do  to  'Liz'beth  here,  an' 
only  to  think  of  her.  She  says  as  how  you  uns 
air  so  kind,  you  uns  won't  mind  no  mistakes." 

'Liz'beth  began  to  whimper  while  she  spoke, 
and  Carol  drew  the  babe  closer  to  her  motherly 
heart.  Back  and  forth  she  began  to  sway,  rock- 
ing the  baby,  while  in  her  ordinary  every-day 

28o         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

way  she  started  a  simple  little  air  to  quiet  her 
charge,  and  in  a  moment  or  two  forgot  that  peo- 
ple were  listening.  So  quiet  were  thej  that  the 
spell  was  unbroken. 

Her  words,  "  I  hain't  never  had  no  lessons  'cept 
from  Don — he  wuz  my  robin,  an'  he  sung  power- 
ful pretty,"  repeated  themselves  to  Mrs.  Mor- 
ton, and  she  leaned  far  forward  in  her  seat  to 

Carol  did  more  than  sing  "  powerful  pretty  "  ; 
she  sang  with  deep  feeling,  and,  while  she  plainly 
lacked  cultivation,  her  voice  was  so  flexible  that 
she  took  very  high  notes  with  little  effort.  Every 
word,  too,  was  distinct,  and  her  mountain  dialect 
added  to  her  charm  for  the  Northerners. 

The  mother-like  love  revealed  in  Carol's  face, 
and  an  undercurrent  of  sadness  in  her  singing, 
caused  Mrs.  Morton's  heart  to  melt  so  that  she 
sobbed  outright.  At  first  the  bereaved  mother 
had  been  stabbed  to  her  soul  to  see  another  child 
wearing  her  beloved's  clothes.  But  now  her  per- 
sonal loss  was  swallowed  up  in  a  great  pity,  so 
that  she  was  glad  that  she  was  not  hoarding  her 
child's  finery. 

At  first  the  singing  only  wrought  upon  her 
feelings,  but  when  she  began  to  control  them 
somewhat,  it  came  to  her  that  Carol  really  had  a 
beautiful  voice — birdlike  in  quality — and  that  it 
might  be  cultivated  and  thus  lift  the  mountain 
waif  out  of  such  poverty. 

The  Entertainment  281 

"  That  voice  should  be  cultivated,"  she  said  to 

Until  this  raoment  she  had  thought  of  Carol  as 
an  ordinary  little  mountain  girl,  but  now  it  came 
to  her  that  the  child  had  the  divine  spark  of 
genius.  Not  only  was  there  exquisite  quality  to 
Carol's  voice,  but  there  was  feeling  in  her  soul. 
While  singing,  understanding,  not  a  child's  but  a 
woman's,  was  vouchsafed  her,  so  that  she  had 
something  for  every  soul  present.  To  the  joyful 
she  gave  added  joy  ;  to  the  sorrowing,  she  not  only 
shared  their  sorrow,  but  lightened  their  burden 
with  hope.  At  least  this  was  the  light  with 
which  Mrs.  Morton  heard  her  sing. 

"She's  wonderful.  How  did  it  ever  come  to 
her  ?  "  Mrs.  Morton  wondered,  and  fearful  that 
her  own  emotions  were  playing  her  false,  she 
tried  her  best  to  judge  Carol  in  a  purely  critical 
spirit.  She  knew  herself  to  be  a  good  judge  of 
music,  and  was  surprised  when  even  in  a  quieter 
mood  her  head  as  well  as  her  heart  approved  her 
first  decision. 

*'  She's  well  named.  Hereafter,  I'll  always 
think  of  her  as  '  my  little  singing  girl,  Carol.'  I 
feel  as  if  I  had  made  a  great  discovery.  I  must 
give  the  child  a  chance,"  Mrs.  Morton  promised 

Maggie,  too,  leaned  far  forward  in  her  seat, 
and  her  eyes  grew  suspiciously  moist.  Carol's 
singing  carried  her  thoughts  to  a  grave  made 

282         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

many  years  before  down  in  Florida,  but  her  loss 
was  not  as  keen  as  Mrs.  Morton's,  for  Beth  had 
come  into  her  own  life  to  fill  the  void. 

"  De  good  Lawd  bless  de  chile,"  Maggie  prayed 
to  herself  for  Carol.  "  Little  missy  done  know 
aftah  all  what  she's  'bout,  bein'  so  good  to  dat 
gal.  She  ain't  no  low  white  trash,  even  if  her 
paw  am,  an'  I'll  have  to  make  it  up  to  her  some 
way  for  my  unrighteous  scorn,  dat's  what,"  and 
Maggie  surreptitiously  wiped  a  tear  from  the 
corner  of  her  eye. 

These  two  were  not  the  only  ones  who  had 
their  feelings  stirred,  for  other  eyes  were  tear 
dimmed,  and  the  silence  attested  that  Carol  had 
gained  the  interest  of  all. 

On  and  on  she  sang,  for  'Liz'beth  was  unusually 
hard  to  be  pacified,  and  as  she  sang,  a  bird — one 
not  native  to  the  region, — swerved  in  its  course 
and  made  for  a  dogwood  tree  to  the  left  of  the 
stage.  And  as  it  lighted,  it  burst  into  song  as  if 
trying  to  outrival  the  human  singer. 

In  an  instant  Beth's  attention  was  riveted  on 
the  bird's  song.  From  her  place  behind  the  cur- 
tain she  could  not  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  feath- 
ered songster,  but  she  did  not  need  to  see,  to 
know  that  the  bird  was  her  own  escaped  mock- 
ing-bird. No  other  bird  in  the  world,  unless  it 
were  Don,  could  sing  like  that  except  Dick. 

The  bird's  trilling  only  lasted  a  moment,  and 
then  away   flew  Dick,  joyful  in  freedom.     But 

The  Entertainment  283 

while  he  was  present  Carol  had  broken  off  in  her 
singing,  and  Beth  feared  the  mountain  girl  might 
have  recognized  the  intruder  and  been  disturbed 
thereby.  She  waited  in  breathless  silence  to  see 
what  Carol  would  do. 

Many  in  the  audience  had  seen  the  bird  fly 
away,  nevertheless,  a  moment  afterward  doubted 
its  being  gone,  notwithstanding  there  was  no 
visible  sign  of  its  whereabouts.  Search  as  they 
did,  it  was  not  to  be  seen,  although  they  thought 
they  heard  it,  for  the  trill  had  been  taken  up  and 
a  repetition  of  the  bird's  first  outburst  was  given, 
and  then  a  repetition  with  variations. 

Some  believed  the  mocking-bird  must  be  hid- 
ing behind  the  curtains  for  the  melody  unmistak- 
ably came  from  the  stage.  This  was  the  solution 
that  Maggie  momentarily  accepted,  until  she 
made  a  discovery  that  brought  her  to  her  feet, 
forgetful  of  everything  but  the  astonishing  truth. 

"  I  clah  to  goodness  if  it  ain't  Carol,  an'  not  de 
mockin'-bird  come  back,"  she  cried.  "  Well  it 
beats  all,  but  I  reckon  dat  bird'd  be  'ceived  hisself 
if  he  heard  her."  She  sank  back  to  her  seat 
completely  conquered.  Beth  would  nevermore 
have  trouble  in  getting  Maggie  to  do  deeds  of 
kindness  for  Carol. 

The  truth  gradually  forced  itself  into  other 
minds  besides  Maggie's,  and  when  there  was  no 
doubt  whence  came  the  birdlike  song,  the  audi- 
ence broke  into  tumultuous  applause. 

284         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Hastily  Carol  arose.  "Don't,  don't,"  she 
called,  holding  up  a  warning  hand.  "  You're 
wakin'  'Liz'beth,"  and  then  again  began  singing 
to  quiet  her  charge. 

More  because  they  wished  to  hear  the  song 
than  because  of  her  warning,  the  noise  died  down, 
but  in  a  moment  'Liz'beth  was  again  asleep, 
whereupon  Carol  turned  to  leave  the  stage.  Her 
admirers  were  ready  to  break  into  applause  once 
more,  had  not  Carol,  at  the  first  clap  of  hands, 
faced  them  defiantly. 

"  Hush,"  she  cautioned.  "  She's  sleepin',  an' 
hit's — it's  bad  to  waken  her.  I'm  goin'  to  take 
her  in  to  maw,"  and  away  she  started. 

Beth  and  Harvey  began  pulling  on  the  curtain 
to  draw  it  together.  Nervousness  may  have 
caused  them  to  pull  too  vigorously,  for  the  rope 
suddenly  gave  way  and  down  fell  the  curtains 
over  them  both.  In  a  moment  they  had  twisted 
themselves  out,  but  were  embarrassed  to  receive 
a  round  of  applause.  The  audience  needed  some 
outlet  for  their  feelings. 

Beth,  however,  was  too  delighted  with  the  suc- 
cess of  Carol's  singing  to  be  uncomfortable  long 
over  anything,  and  catching  her  father's  eye,  she 
called : 

"  Papa,  come  up  and  fix  it  for  us." 

Mr.  Davenport  hastened  to  the  platform.  From 
his  own  state  of  mind,  he  knew  there  could  be  no 

The  Entertainment  285 

more  auspicious  moment  than  the  present  in 
which  to  open  people's  purse  strings. 

"  I  was  not  asked  to  speak,"  he  began  facing 
the  audience,  "  but  you  all  know  the  object  of 
this  entertainment,  and  that  we're  to  give  what- 
ever we  wish.  It  just  occurred  to  me  that  while 
I'm  fixing  the  curtain,  the  children  had  better 
take  up  a  contribution,"  and  to  set  a  good  ex- 
ample, he  gave  Beth  a  bill. 

"  For  Carol,"  he  said. 

So  the  girls  took  the  little  baskets  tied  in  green 
that  they  had  in  readiness  for  the  purpose,  and 
Marian  and  Julia  went  to  the  back  benches  while 
Beth  began  at  the  front. 

The  very  first  person  that  Beth  came  to  was 
Maggie.  Not  expecting  any  donation  from  her 
mammy,  she  started  to  pass  her  by.  Maggie 
jumped  to  her  feet  as  quickly  as  her  "  rheumat- 
ics "  would  permit. 

"  See  here,  honey  chile,"  she  called,  and  others 
around  listened.  "  I'm  pr'ared  to  give.  I  done 
axed  Miss  Mary  to  'vance  me  some  money  dis 
mornin'  for  dis  very  purpose." 

^'  But  Maggie,"  began  Beth  undecided  if  it 
were  fair  to  receive  a  contribution  from  a  work- 
ing woman. 

"  Don't  hes'tate,  honey.  De  good  book  says 
as  how  de  widow's  mite  wuz  befo  's  all.  I've 
no    need    ob    de    money,   an'    dey    has,"    and 

286         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

with  the  words  she  dropped  a  bill  into  the 

"  But  Maggie,  this  is  more  than  a  mite,"  cried 

Her  colored  mammy  drew  herself  up  and  pride 
flashed  from  her  eyes. 

*'  Go  'long,  honey.  Dat  widow's  mite  wuz 
only  fig'er  ob  speech  wid  me.  I  done  always 
worked  for  de  quality."  ' 

Then  she  reseated  herself  with  a  look  of  con- 
scious well  doing.  Her  words  brought  smiles  to 
faces  all  around,  while  some  nodded  their  ap- 
proval at  her.  But  better  still  her  example 
proved  contagious,  and  bills  and  silver  rapidly 
filled  Beth's  basket.  The  other  two  girls,  too, 
fared  almost  as  well. 

"  Missy  Beth,"  said  Gustus,  running  to  meet  her 
as  she  was  carrjung  her  filled  basket  back  to  the 
platform,  "  I  seen  Maggie  givin',  an'  I  wants  to 
giv'  too.  Here's  a  quartah  massa  gav'  me  extra 
las'  week  for  bein'  a  good  boy,  he  said,  an'  I  did 
'low  I'd  buy  somethin'  to  take  to  camp  wid  us, 
but  I'd  ruther  they  had  it  now." 

Again  Beth  hesitated.  She  knew  that  Gustus 
sent  most  of  his  ^vages  home,  and  that  all  extras 
were  very  precious  to  him,  so  she  said  : 

"  You  do  your  share  by  taking  part,  Gustus." 

"  Please,  Miss}^  Beth,  take  de  money  too  for  it 
makes  me  feel  good  inside  to  give  it." 

She  flashed  her  approval   in  a  smile  as  the 

The  Entertainment  287 

quarter  jingled  down  among  the  other  coins.  She, 
herself,  felt  "  good  inside  "  and  she  added  • 

"  I'm  very  proud  of  you,  Gustus." 

This  made  him  so  happy  that  he  thrust  his 
hands  way  down  in  his  pockets,  and  shujffled  his 
feet  around  in  an  irresistible  manner. 

"  I  kin  do  figgers  to-day  dat'll  make  dem  [N'orth- 
erners'  eyes  open,"  he  whispered.  "  I  feel  jes' 
like  dancin'  forebber  an'  ebber." 

The  money  was  placed  in  Mr.  Davenport's 

"  I  know  we've  taken  up  more  than  any  of  us 
expected,"  said  Marian.  "  We'll  have  to  do  ex- 
tra well  now." 

*'  Somebody  ought  to  go  out  in  front  and  thank 
them  for  their  goodness.  I'll  get  Harvey,"  pro- 
posed Beth. 

"  Go  yourself,"  said  her  father.  "  You  helped 
collect,  and  it  was  your  idea  having  the  enter- 

Again  her  heart  began  thumping  wildly,  but 
she  resolutely  walked  to  the  front  of  the  stage, 
and  curtsied. 

"  I — we  want  to  thank  you,"  her  voice  trem- 
bled, but  in  a  moment  she  gained  confidence  so 
that  her  words  rang  clear,  "  At  first  I  was  ter- 
ribly scared  for  fear  we  could  not  please  you, 
but  you  have  given  so  much  money  and  liked 
Carol  so  well  that  it  will  help  us  to  do  our  best. 
We  thank  you  very,  very  much." 

288         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Her  unaffectedness  pleased  them  and  they 
clapped  for  her.  Again  she  curtsied  and  then 
retired  hurriedly. 

By  this  time  repairs  were  finished  and  the  en- 
tertainment proceeded  without  another  flaw. 
Each  one  of  the  performers,  even  to  the  dogs,  did 
themselves  great  credit,  and  received  merited 

One  event  of  the  day  that  especially  pleased 
Beth  occurred  at  the  very  end  of  the  perform- 
ance. Some  one  called  for  Carol,  and  immediately 
all  the  audience  began  calling  for  her.  At  first 
she  was  so  bashful  that  Beth  could  not  make  her 
acknowledge  the  ovation,  but  finally  they  suc- 
ceeded in  getting  her  before  the  curtain  where 
she  bowed  awkwardly,  for  without  'Liz'beth  she 
was  self-conscious. 

"  Another  bird  song  from  Carol  of  Carolina," 
called  Mrs.  Morton  and  the  words  were  taken  up 
by  many  others. 

Whereupon  Carol  rushed  in  great  confusion 
back  of  the  curtains,  but  her  flight  only  made 
them  more  vociferous  in  their  demands. 

"  You  must  sing,"  Beth  commanded. 

"  I  hain't  'Liz'beth  here  to  think  'bout.  I  can't 
do  hit,"  she  answered  so  frightened  that  she 
could  have  cried.- 

"  Sing  for  Mrs.  Morton  and  me,"  Beth  implored. 
"  It'll  spoil  everything  if  you  don't  sing.     Don't 

The  Entertainment  289 

think  about  yourself,  just  think  how  much  we 
want  you  to  sing." 

Only  a  moment  longer  did  Carol  hesitate. 
**I'll  do  hit  fer  yer,"  she  muttered  through 
clenched  teeth.  She  was  evidently  still  very 
much  scared,  but  Beth  hoped  her  grit  would 
help  her  out,  and  fearing  also  that  her  nerve 
might  fail  if  she  waited  another  moment,  Beth 
saw  that  the  curtains  were  drawn  back,  leaving 
Carol  in  the  centre  of  the  stage  alone. 

For  a  moment  she  stood  looking  around  help- 
lessly. The  clamor  subsided,  but  the  stillness 
so  frightened  her  that  she  was  tempted  to  fly. 
Beth  read  her  thoughts. 

"Do  sing,"  she  whispered  across  to  Carol. 
"  Pretend  you're  Dick  come  back,  and  sing  like 
he  did  for  me.  If  you  do,  I'll  never  mind  again 
that  you  let  him  go." 

The  appeal  stilled  Carol's  fright,  and  she  began 
thinking  of  the  orange  groves  in  Florida  that 
Beth  had  told  her  about.  She  imagined  that  a 
new  moon  was  rising  over  the  gleaming  river 
that  flowed  softly  on  one  side  of  the  grove.  She 
saw  two  birds  side  by  side  on  a  tree  and  she 
pictured  to  herself  how  they  would  talk  together 
in  song.  With  the  scene  very  real  in  her  own 
mind,  she  began  her  song.  At  first  it  was  very 
low  and  sweet,  as  if  the  birds  feared  some  in- 
truder might  be  near  by  to  interrupt  their  love- 

290         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

making,  but,  when  the  stillness  was  undisturbed 
except  by  themselves,  thej  gained  confidence, 
which  the  little  singer  expressed  by  richer,  fuller, 
higher  tones. 

Carol  brought  her  wondrous  trilling  to  an  end 
amid  a  storm  of  applause,  but  the  sweetest  praise 
to  her  was  when  Beth  grabbed  her  and  kissed 

"  I'm  proud  of  you,  Carol,"  she  cried.  "  I  had 
no  idea  you  could  do  so  well.  It's  been  a  grand 
success,  and  '  Carol  of  Carolina,'  as  Mrs.  Morton 
called  you,  deserves  the  greatest  credit.  Hurrah 
for  Carol  of  Carolina ! " 



One  bright  morning  in  early  June,  Beth  arose 
a  little  after  daylight.  The  most  desired  wish 
of  her  soul  was  about  to  be  fulfilled.  The 
Davenports  were  going  camping. 

Mr.  Davenport  and  Gustus  were  to  drive  the 
five  miles  to  Melrose  with  a  wagon  load  of  bag- 
gage and  provisions.  Harvey  and  the  girls  were 
to  go  up  on  the  morning  train,  while  Mrs.  Daven- 
port and  Maggie  were  to  wait  until  the  following 
morning,  when  the  campers  hoped  to  have  every- 
thing in  fine  running  order. 

Even  before  the  family  breakfasted,  they  be- 
gan loading  the  wagon,  and  by  the  time  Mr. 
Davenport  was  ready  to  start,  it  seemed  impos- 
sible to  pile  on  anything  more. 

"  Mamma  says  we  must  take  these  blankets," 
cried  Beth,  rushing  out  breathlessly,  almost  lost 
behind  the  load  she  carried.  "  It'll  be  colder  up 
there  than  here." 

By  rearranging  the  load,  the  necessary  room 
was  secured.  Then  Maggie  appeared  with  an 
enormous  hamper. 

"  Hav'  yo'  done  disrec'lected  dis  ? "  she  de- 
manded.    "  Yo'd  starve  sho'  dis  noon  anyways 

294         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

if  all  dese  goodies  were  left  'hind.  "Why,  Miss 
Marian,  Missy  Beth,  Miss  Julie  an'  me  worked  all 
day  yesterday  makin'  pies  an'  cakes  an'  cookin' 
chicken  an'  boilin'  ham,  'sides  all  de  fruits  an' 
jellies.     De  question  now  am,  whar's  it  to  go  ?  " 

Gustus'  eyes  rolled  tragically.  "  Dem  goodies 
sho'  got  to  go." 

"  Hump,"  muttered  Maggie.  "  Yo's  sech  a  pig, 
yo'd  walk  on  yo'r  hands,  I  reckon,  'fore  yo'd  see 
any  thin'  good  to  eat  left  'hind." 

Finally  the  hamper  was  wedged  in  front,  but 
in  consequence  Gustus  had  to  let  his  feet  hang 
over  the  side  of  the  wagon. 

"  We'd  better  start  before  you  try  to  load  any- 
thing more  on,"  said  Mr.  Davenport,  suiting  the 
action  to  his  words. 

At  this  instant  Duke  bounded  around  the  cor- 
ner of  the  house  in  pursuit  of  the  wagon. 

"Call  him  back,  Beth,"  Mr.  Davenport  com- 

*'  Oh,  papa,  let  him  go  to  camp  with  you,"  she 
begged,  running  down  the  road. 

"  But  we  decided  to  leave  him  home  to  protect 
the  house." 

"  "Watch  will  do  as  well.  I  tied  him  up  in  the 
barn  to  make  sure  he  wouldn't  follow." 

Mr.  Davenport  smiled  over  her  artlessness. 
"But  you  left  Duke  loose  so  he  would  follow. 
Well,  as  you  want  him  so  much,  he  might  as  well 

Camping  295 

"  Oh,  goody,  goody,  goody,"  she  cried,  dancing 
up  and  down  on  the  pine  needles.  "  Don't  you 
let  him  get  lost,  Gustus.  It  would  break  my 
heart  to  lose  him." 

After  this  parting  injunction,  she  went  down 
to  see  if  Carol  was  ready,  for  it  had  been  planned 
that  she  should  spend  a  few  days  at  camp.  Beth 
found  Carol  unexpectedly  downcast. 

"  The  gal  to  look  after  'Liz'beth  hain't  cum," 
she  announced  with  a  catch  in  her  voice.  "If 
she  don't  cum  soon,  I'll  have  to  stay  hum." 

"  Oh,  well,  then  you  can  come  on  the  train 
with  mamma  and  Maggie." 

Carol's  gloom  did  not  lighten.  "  But  I  wants 
to  go  to-day.     I  could  help  a  powerful  sight." 

She  struggled  to  keep  the  tears  back,  but  felt 
so  badly  that  she  sobbed  aloud.  Beth  was  des- 
perate. She  had  some  things  to  attend  to  at  the 
house  and  had  no  time  to  comfort  Carol,  even  if 
she  had  known  how. 

"  Please,  please  don't  cry.  I  must  go,  and  it 
makes  me  unhappy  to  have  you  feel  so  badly." 

"I'll  try  not  to  cry,"  promised  Carol,  strug- 
gling harder  than  ever  to  swallow  her  sobs,  and 
hugging  poor  'Liz'beth  close  in  her  arms. 

"  The  girl  may  come.  If  she  does,  meet  us  at 
the  train,"  called  back  Beth  as  she  started  up  the 

Even  at  the  house  she  thought  continually  about 
Carol's  disappointment.     Finally  when  they  went 

296         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

down  to  the  train,  she  watched  anxiously  in  hopes 
that  Carol  might  appear. 

Impatient  as  Beth  was  to  be  at  camp,  she  was 
actually  sorry  to  have  the  train  on  time,  for  no 
Carol  had  come. 

"It's  a  shame  about  Carol,"  she  said,  when 
seated  in  the  car  beside  Harvey,  and  a  picture  of 
her  friend  in  tears  as  she  had  left  her,  rose  to  her 
mind.  "  I  do  hope  she  can  come  up  to-morrow. 
I  don't  wonder  she  feels  badly.  I'd  have  cried 
my  eyes  out,  too,  if  I'd  been  in  her  place." 

Only  for  a  moment,  however,  did  Carol's  dis- 
appointment affect  Beth's  spirits.  She  was  too 
bubbling  over  Tvith  the  idea  of  camp  life  to  be 
long  dispirited  by  anything. 

"  We're  going  camping,"  she  confided  to  the 
conductor  when  he  came  to  collect  their  fare. 
"  We  want  to  get  off  by  the  water  tank  at  Mel- 
rose. Will  you  surely  let  us  know  when  we  get 
there  ?  " 

He  smiled  at  her  eagerness.  "  Yes,  indeed," 
he  answered. 

By  this  time  the  engine  was  putting  on  extra 
steam  to  puff  laboriously  up  the  steep  mountain 

Beth  looked  troubled.  "  It's  an  awful  pull  for 
Rueur,  and  he  may  balk.  Anyway  some  of  the 
things  will  spill  out,  and,  if  they  don't,  our  cakes 
and  pies  and  things  will  all  get  jumbled  to- 

Camping  297 

"  I  never  knew  you  to  be  such  a  croaker,"  called 
Marian  from  the  seat  ahead.  "  Do  be  quiet  and 
look  at  the  scenery  " 

Beth  did  not  know  which  side  of  the  car  to 
choose.  On  either  side  were  sheer  ravines  and 
rugged  rocks,  while  backward  lay  the  peaceful 
valley.  Every  tree  and  bush  was  clothed  in  most 
luxuriant  green  besides  which  were  many  ex- 
quisite wild  flowers. 

]N"ot  for  long  did  Beth  enjoy  the  grandeur  of 
the  scenery  in  quiet.  From  what  her  father  had 
said  of  the  distance,  she  thought  they  should  be 
Hearing  Melrose. 

"  Supposing  they  don't  stop  at  the  water  tank 
to-day  ?  "  But  at  that  moment  she  saw  the  con- 
ductor coming,  and  ran  eagerly  to  meet  him. 

"  Is  it  time  for  us  to  get  off  ?  " 

Again  he  smiled  over  her  evident  excitement. 
"We'll  be  at  Melrose  in  a  minute  now.  You'd 
better  be  careful  up  here  in  the  mountains,"  he 
continued,  as  she  skipped  along  by  him  toward 
the  door.  "  If  I  were  in  your  place  I'd  never 
leave  camp  without  a  pistol.  I  do  hope  you  can 

Her  eyes  grew  very  big.  "  Why  do  I  need  a 
pistol  ?  " 

He  shook  his  head,  while  his  face  appeared  very 
solemn.  "  The  mountains  are  full  of  wild  beasts, 
and  there  are  robbers — awful  bad  ones — up  here. 
They'll  be  sure  to  capture  such  an  adventurous 

298         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

girl  as  yourself.  If  there  were  time  enough,  I 
could  tell  you  yarns  that  would  make  your  blood 
curdle,  and,  as  for  that  curly  hair  of  yours,  why 
all  the  curl  would  come  right  out  until  it  stood 
straight  on  end." 

Beth  knew  that  he  must  be  teasing  her.  Nev- 
ertheless, she  grew  more  and  more  round-eyed, 
which  incited  the  conductor  to  continue. 

"  Why,  right  near  the  spot  where  j^ou're  going 
to  camp " 

"  He  don't  know  where  weVe  to  camp,"  Beth 
reassured  herself. 

"  The  wild  chief  of  the  robbers  is  now  in  hid- 
ing. My,  but  you'll  be  scared  if  you  come  across 
him.  I  daren't  say  what  he  would  do  to  you. 
One  thing  is  certain,  though,  you'd  better  keep 
out  of  his  way.  I  myself  would  be  terribly  scared 
to  meet  him." 

The  children  alighted  a  short  distance  above 
the  water  tank,  where  the  conductor  took  his 
leave  of  Beth  with  the  parting  injunction : 

"  JS'ow  keep  your  eyes  open.  I'd  hate  mightily 
to  hear  of  any  harm  befalling  you,  but  if  the 
chief  of  the  robbers  should  capture  you,  don't  tell 
him  I  warned  you  against  him,  or  he  might  hold 
up  my  train  in  revenge." 

"He  was  only  fooling,  wasn't  he?  It  does 
look  pretty  wild  up  here,  though,"  said  Beth,  as 
the  train  steamed  on  up  the  mountain.  She  gazed 
at  the  woods  on  either  side  of  them  appreljensively 

Camping  299 

as  if  she  feared  the  chief  of  the  robbers  raight  be 
lurking  behind  a  tree  at  that  very  moment. 

"I  reckon  he  really  meant  what  he  said,"  an- 
swered Harvey  so  seriously  that  both  Beth  and 
Julia  were  half  inclined  to  believe  him,  notwith- 
standing his  propensity  to  tease. 

"  I  don't  know  about  the  wild  animals,"  he  con- 
tinued, "  but  there  are  sure  to  be  robbers  bold  up 
in  these  wilds." 

"  Don't  you  believe  him.  You  know  how  he 
plagues  us,"  put  in  Marian. 

"  Marian's  scared,  but  don't  be  afraid,  girls.  I'll 
protect  you."  i 

They  laughed  good-naturedly  over  his  lordly  1 

manner,  and  walked  on. 

"  Aren't  these  Eueur's  tracks  ?  "  cried  Marian 
at  the  road.     "  Yes,  for  here  are  Duke's,  too." 

"  I  can  hardly  wait  to  reach  the  falls.  I'm  the 
only  one  who  hasn't  seen  them,"  cried  Beth,  hur-  ; 

rying  ahead  of  the  others.  ! 

''Ko  use  trying  to  leave  us  behind,"  called  ' 

Harvey.     "  You'll  not  know  where  to  turn  unless  | 

we're  with  you."  \ 

She  settled  down  to  the  slower  pace  of  her  com-  I 

panions  as  she  was  losing  breath  anyway.     The  ; 

road  was  not  particularly  steep,  but  she  had  done 
no  mountain  climbing  like  the  others.     On  either  : 

side  were  trees  and  bushes  so  dense  that  only  \ 

once  was  there  an  opening  for  any  extended 
view.  i 

300         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Hello  !  "  called  Harvey,  so  unexpectedly  that 
Beth  was  startled. 

"  Hello,"  came  in  answer  almost  as  an  echo, 
and  then  they  heard  Gustus  say,  "  They're  comin', 
Massa  James." 

In  a  moment  Duke  bounded  out  from  the 
bushes  to  the  right  of  them. 

"  Are  we  really  there  ?  "  demanded  Beth,  all 

In  answer,  Harvey  led  the  way  through  an 
opening  near  where  Duke  had  come  out.  Here 
were  Mr.  Davenport  and  Gustus  hard  at  work, 
and  with  them  was  a  mountaineer  Mr.  Davenport 
had  engaged  to  help  lay  the  floor  for  the  girls' 
tent.  Already  it  was  half  completed,  and  Gustus 
had  the  wagon  partly  unloaded. 

"  Are  you  all  ready  for  work  ? "  called  Mr. 

"  Yes,  only  I'd  like  to  see  the  falls  first.  They 
must  ^^  very  near  for  they  sound  so  loud,"  an- 
swered Beth. 

"  You'll  never  settle  down  until  you'^ve  seen 
them,  so  I  reckon  I'll  have  to  take  you  to  them, 
and  then  we'll  pitch  in  and  work  hard,"  added 
Harvey  to  reassure  Mr.  Davenport  that  they  did 
not  mean  to  be  idlers.    -^ 

He  started  on  tlie  path  toward  the  falls,  and 
then  Beth  skipped  ahead  of  him.  In  a  moment 
she  came  to  a  stream  bubbling  down-hill  over  a 


Camping  ^o\ 

rocky  bed,  and  then  looked  up  to  where  she  heard 
the  sound  of  falling  water. 

"  Oh,  oh,  oh  I  "  she  cried,  in  rapture. 

She  had  seen  grander  falls,  but  never  any  more 
picturesque  than  these.  There  was  no  sheer  de- 
scent of  water  but  it  fell  in  foaming  cascades 
over  ledges  of  rocks,  while  on  either  side  of  the 
stream  were  trees  and  overhanging  shrubs  in 
bloom  that  were  mirrored  wherever  the  water 
had  settled  into  quietness.  Beth  caught  glimpses 
of  luxuriant  ferns  and  wild  flowers  under  this 
tangled  growth. 

"Are  you  satisfied  now  that  youVe  seen 
them  ?  "  asked  Harvey,  after  waiting  a  moment 
for  her  to  speak. 

"  Satisfied  ?  "  repeated  Beth.  "  Well,  I  should 
say  so.  I  could  stand  here  all  day  watching 
the " 

"  Stand  here  all  day  indeed,"  he  interrupted. 
"  Well,  you'll  do  nothing  of  the  sort.  We  must 
get  to  work  right  away." 

"  That's  so,"  she  assented,  turning  back  with 
less  reluctance  because  of  her  great  desire  to  help 
toward  the  settlement  of  their  camp. 

"  Harvey,"  said  Mr.  Davenport,  as  they  re- 
turned, "  take  that  extra  axe  and  help  Gustus 
chop  down  some  young  spruce  trees  for  the  beds." 

"  And  what  shall  I  do  ?  "  asked  Beth. 

"  You  can  help  Marian  and  Julia  in  gathering 

302         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

wood.  We  need  a  lot  both  for  a  bonfire  to-night 
and  for  our  coffee  this  noon." 

Such  work  was  play  to  the  children,  and  time 
sped  so  quickly  that  they  were  all  surprised  when 
Mr.  Davenport  called : 

"  What  time  do  you  think  it  is,  children  ?  " 

"  About  eleven,"  answered  Harvey. 

"  You're  no  true  woodsman  or  vou'd  know  bet- 
ter.  Just  look  up  at  the  sun  and  you'll  see  it's 
past  twelve." 

"  Well,  the  only  way  I'd  have  believed  it  is 
because  I'm  so  hungry,"  cried  Beth. 

"  I'm  ravenous  myself,"  agreed  her  father. 
"  You  girls  spread  out  the  lunch  and  we'll 
make  the  coffee,"  he  added,  looking  at  the 

Beth  tore  off  the  cover  from  the  hamper.  "  It 
don't  look  as  if  a  thing  was  jumbled.  Maggie 
knows  how  to  pack." 

The  table-cloth  was  spread  on  the  ground  as 
there  had  been  no  time  to  build  a  table  as  planned 
— that  was  to  be  part  of  the  afternoon's  labor, 
and  then  the  supplies  from  the  hamper  were 
placed  thereon  in  extravagant  abundance. 

The  smoke  from  the  fire  curled  upward  and 
soon  the  fragrant  aroma  of  coffee  announced  that 
their  midday  meal  was  ready.  Whereupon  they 
all  clustered  around  the  feast  down  on  the  sweet 
smelling  pine  needles. 

Beth  heaved  a  sigh  of  deep  content.     "  It's  so 

Camping  303 

lovely  to  be  here  that  it  almost  seems  like  a 

"  This  chicken  is  betteh  than  any  dream  I 
ebber  knowed,"  announced  Gustus,  who  with  the 
mountaineer  had  been  given  a  helping  by  them- 

Kever  had  a  meal  tasted  better  to  any  of  them 
than  the  one  that  noon. 

"  What  would  Maggie  say  if  she  saw  how  weVe 
made  things  disappear  ?  "  cried  Marian,  as  she 

"She'd  immediately  go  to  work  and  bake  a 
lot  more  goodies  to  bring  up  with  them  to-mor- 
row," answered  Beth. 

Their  afternoon's  work  proved  very  satisfac- 
tory, and  the  beds  of  spruce  especially  pleased 

"  I  can  hardly  wait  for  night.  They're  the 
grandest  things  to  sleep  on  imaginable,"  she  de- 

"  We  are  pretty  fine,  I  think,"  agreed  Harvey, 
who  had  just  returned  with  some  milk  he  had 
succeeded  in  getting  down  near  the  railroad  track. 

"  Fine,"  sniffed  Beth.  "  Why  we're  grand.  I 
wouldn't  change  this  lovely  camp  for  a  palace." 

Supper  was  served  on  the  table  that  had  been 
fixed  during  the  afternoon  and  all  enjoyed  the 
meal  thoroughly. 

"  Now  for  our  bonfire,"  cried  Harvey,  as  they 
arose  from  the  ground. 

304         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

A  few  moments  afterward  the  flames  shot  up- 
ward, and  around  the  blaze  the  little  party  gath- 
ered glad  of  its  cheer.  All  were  tired  and  clouds 
were  gathering  which  was  somewhat  dispirit- 

''  It  looks  very  much  like  rain.  That's  the 
worst  of  camp  life,"  said  Mr.  Davenport,  who 
had  been  fearful  of  the  clouds  for  some  time. 

"  Well,  if  it  does  rain,  we'll  go  to  bed,  and  the 
sun  will  surely  be  shining  in  the  morning,"  Beth 
predicted,  with  her  usual  optimism. 

She  had  expected  to  enjoy  this  part  of  the  day 
the  most,  but  on  the  first  night  of  camp  life,  she 
found  she  was  too  tired  and  sleepy  to  care  even 
for  stories.  Other  nights  they  could  roast  things 
and  have  a  merry  time,  but  now,  she  thought, 
bed  would  be  nicer  than  any  jollification.  IN'ever- 
theless  she  tried  not  to  show  how  she  felt. 

Gustus,  on  his  part,  did  not  stifle  his  yawns  in 
the  least.  As  he  sat  before  the  fire  his  head 
nodded  every  once  in  a  while,  and  then  he  would 
come  to  himself  with  a  great  start. 

"  Gustus,  you  make  me  sleepy,"  cried  Marian  as 
he  stretched  his  arms  above  his  head  yawning 
more  loudly  than  ever. 

"I — I — a — w — shurely  can't  help  it.  Miss 
Marian.     I  nebber  wuz  so  sleepy." 

«  We're  all  sleepy,"  said  Mr.  Davenport.  "  We 
were  up  so  early,  and  then  we've  worked  pretty 
hard.     What  do  you  say  to  turning  in  for  the 

Camping  305 

night  and  then  we  can  get  an  early  start  in  the 
morning  ?  " 

As  he  spoke  some  one  felt  a  drop  of  rain,  and 
that  settled  the  matter.  Into  the  tents  they  went, 
which  was  a  wise  move,  for  soon  the  drops  fell 
faster  and  settled  into  a  fine  "  growing  rain,"  as 
Mr.  Davenport  called  it. 

"  It's  a  'sperience,"  said  Beth  as  she  undressed. 

"  Well  I'm  mighty  glad  it's  not  a  wild  down- 
pour like  we  had  on  the  night  we  were  lost,"  an- 
swered Julia. 

Later  when  Beth  had  snuggled  down  in  a  par- 
ticularly comfortable  spot,  she  said,  "  It's  lovely 
to  lie  here  so  warm  and  snug  and  listen  to  the 
rain.     And  the  roar  of  the  falls  makes  me " 

*'  Oh,  do  be  quiet,  Beth  ;  I  want  to  sleep,"  cried 
Marian.  Julia's  fair  head  was  far  down  in  the 
pillow,  and  her  regular  breathing  showed  that  she 
was  already  asleep. 

Beth  had  suddenly  grown  very  wide  awake. 
Over  and  over  in  her  mind  recurred  all  that  they 
had  done  during  the  day,  and  then  she  thought 
over  all  that  she  would  like  to  do  on  the  morrow. 
She  did  not  mind  being  wakeful.  It  was  lovely 
just  to  know  that  she  was  up  on  a  great  mountain 
in  the  woods  with  beautiful  falls  roaring,  roaring, 
so  very  near,  and  the  drip,  drip  of  the  rain  was 
nice  too,  even  if  the  girls  would  not  agree  with 
her  in  this. 

But  soon  the  poetry  of  the  situation  was  spoiled 

3o6         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

for  Beth  by  the  rising  wind.     It  made  her  think 
of  the  robbers  the  conductor  told  her  about. 

Suppose  they  were  somewhere  near,  particularly 
that  awful  chief.  She  wouldn't  like  him  to  ap- 
pear at  their  camp  especially  when  she  was  the 
only  one  awake.  She'd  like  to  call  across  to  the 
other  tent  to  know  if  they  were  sleeping  there, 
only  it  would  make  them  cross  to  be  awakened, 
and  she  felt  very  sure  they  were  sleeping  after 
their  hard  work. 

Another  gust  of  wind  made  her  draw  the  bed- 
clothes up  over  her  head  and  thus  she  lay  slightly 
trembling.  Suddenly  she  remembered  Duke 
chained  over  in  the  *'  storeroom  "  where  the  pro- 
visions were. 

"  If  I  only  had  Duke  here,  I  wouldn't  be  a  mite 
afraid,"  she  thought.  "  Why  didn't  I  let  him 
sleep  at  the  foot  of  my  bed  ?  I  believe  I'll  get 
him  even  now." 

IN'o  sooner  had  the  idea  entered  her  mind  than 
she  arose,  and,  slipping  a  blanket  around  her, 
started  on  her  mission  barefooted. 

Outside  she  found  that  the  rain  had  increased. 
The  darkness,  too,  was  intense.  She  almost  re- 
pented her  undertaking,  but  after  having  started 
would  not  give  up.  She  made  a  dash  over  in  the 
direction  where  she  knew  Duke  was  tied.  Sud- 
denly a  sound  made  her  stop  under  a  tree  and 
lean  up  against  the  trunk  weak  with  fright.  Her 
heart  beat  so  wildlv  that  it  almost  suffocated  her. 

Camping  307 

Unmistakably  some  one  was  coming  near  in  the 

The  bonfire  had  been  beaten  out  by  the  rain. 
Kot  a  star  was  visible  to  give  a  ray  of  light.  In 
her  fright,  Beth  knew  the  intruder  must  be  one 
of  the  robbers  the  conductor  had  told  about.  She 
would  have  sneaked  back  to  her  father's  tent  to 
waken  him  if  she  had  not  feared  running  into  a 
robber.  In  the  darkness  she  could  not  distinguish 
a  single  object,  and  it  was  possible  that  there 
might  be  more  than  one  robber  around. 

"  I'm  a  goose,"  she  told  herself  trying  to  be 
calm.     "  Probably  it's  papa  or  Harvey  or " 

All  at  once  Duke  barked,  and  Beth  was  sure 
that  it  was  none  of  their  party.  A  stranger  alone 
could  thus  excite  him.  She  hoped  his  barking 
would  rouse  the  others,  and  that  they  would 
come  before  the  robber  murdered  her. 

Rain-drops  were  leaking  through  the  tree  down 
on  her  but  getting  wet  was  the  least  of  her 
troubles.  She  wanted  to  scream,  but  her  throat 
was  parched,  and  she  stood  rooted  to  the  spot  in 
speechless  suspense. 

Notwithstanding  the  dog's  barking,  the  foot- 
steps came  nearer  and  nearer,  and  Duke  grew 
more  and  more  excited. 

"  Hush,  hush,"  Beth  heard  some  one  mutter. 
The  tones  were  not  as  fierce  as  a  robber  should 
use,  Beth  thought,  but  probably  they  were  trying 
to  be  mild  to  pacify  the  dog. 

3o8         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  It  didn't  sound  like  a  man  at  all,  but  then 
robbers  are  very  deceiving,"  she  decided.  Then 
to  her  great  surprise  Duke  quieted  down  in  an 

"  He's  fooled  too,"  she  thought,  disappointed 
not  to  have  him  show  his  usual  sagacity.  In  fact 
so  disappointed  was  she  that  it  restored  her  own 

*'  Sic  'em,  Duke.     Go  for  them,"  she  yelled. 

The  same  instant  a  melancholy  cry  right  above 
her  made  her  sink  almost  to  the  ground. 

"  Oo — 00 — oo,"  came  the  ghastly  call  the 
second  time,  and  Beth  was  so  overcome  with  ter- 
ror at  the  sound  that  she  fled  unmindful  of  what 
she  encountered  only  so  that  she  could  get  away 
from  that  weird  voice.  On  she  ran  stumblingly, 
and  the  first  thing  she  knew  she  and  some  one 
else  had  run  into  one  another. 

"  Oh,"  almost  sobbed  Beth. 

"  Beth,  Beth  Davenport,  hit's  only  me." 

Beth  did  not  see  how  Carol  could  be  up  in  the 
mountains  although  it  was  unmistakably  her 

"  You're — you're  sure  it's  you  ? "  she  mur- 

"  Yes,  yes,  hit's  me — Carol.  What's  the  mat- 
ter ?  " 

Assured  that  it  really  was  Carol,  Beth  clung 
to  her  almost  as  if  she  feared  she  grasped  a  spirit 
that  might  vanish. 

Camping  309 

"  Did — you — hear — that  awful  sound  up  in  the 
tree  ?     There  it  is  again.     What  is  it,  Carol  ?  " 

"  That  ?  "  answered  Carol  reassuringly.  "  Don't 
yer  know  a  hoot  owl  when  yer  hear  one  ?  " 

Beth  was  thoroughly  ashamed  of  her  ground- 
less terror. 

"  I'd  have  known  if  I  hadn't  been  so  fright- 
ened thinking  that  you  were  a  robber,  Carol." 

*'  I  wuz  frightened  'bout  yer,"  confessed  Carol. 
"I  'lowed  that  per'aps  I'd  gotten  to  the  wrong 
camp  'til  I  hearn  Duke  bark.  An'  when  yer 
sicked  him  on,  I  couldn't  b'lieve  hit  could  be  yer, 
but  feared  hit  moight  be  a  sperrit,  an'  that's  why 
I  didn't  call  out." 

"  Come  inside  the  tent,"  said  Beth,  beginning 
to  feel  wet,  and  willing  now  that  she  had  hu- 
man companionship  to  forego  Duke's  presence. 

"What's  the  matter?  Who's  there?"  cried 
Marian,  sitting  up  in  bed  as  the  two  girls  entered. 

"  Carol's  come." 

*'  Carol  ?    That's  nice." 

By  Marian's  tones,  and  the  way  she  sank  back 
on  the  pillow,  Beth  knew  she  was  only  half 
awake.  Julia  did  not  even  stir.  Beth  wondered 
why  her  call  to  Duke  had  not  roused  any  one  in 
the  other  tent,  but  their  being  so  tired,  probably 
accounted  for  it. 

"  How  did  you  get  here  at  this  time  of  the 
night?"  Beth  whispered,  her  curiosity  increasing 
the  more  she  thought  about  the  matter. 

310         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  I  walked,"  quietly  replied  the  mountain  girl. 

"  Walked  ? "  repeated  Beth,  more  and  more 
astonished.  "  Not  in  the  dark  and  rain  ?  "  It 
seemed  incredible  to  Beth. 

Carol  was  shivering  both  with  cold  and  ex- 
citement. "  Thar  war  no  other  way  to  cum,  an' 
so  I  jes'  had  to.  I  was  sot  to  get  here  to-day,  if 
hit  war  possible.  The  gal  didn't  cum  to  mind 
'Liz'beth  'til  powerful  late." 

How  any  one,  especially  a  mere  girl  like  her- 
self, dared  make  a  trip  alone  after  nightfall,  up  a, 
mountain  that  might  be  robber  infested,  was 
more  than  Beth  could  understand.  She  was 
most  anxious  to  hear  every  detail  of  the  romantic 
journey,  but  her  consideration  of  others  made  her 
check  her  curiosity. 

"  You  must  be  tired  and  wet,"  she  said,  half 
hoping  she  might  be  contradicted. 

"  My  clothes  be  pretty  well  soaked,"  agreed 

"  You  must  get  right  undressed  then.  There's 
a  place  here  beside  me  for  you  to  sleep.  Then 
you  can  tell  me  all  that  happened." 

"  I  lost  my  bundle — thar  warn't  much  in  hit  as 
I  didn't  want  to  tote  much — jes'  some  night 
things.  But  when  1  was  powerful  scared,  I 
dropped  hit  an'  scooted." 

This  aroused  Beth's  interest  more  than  ever, 
but  she  held  herself  well  in  check.  She  fumbled 
around  in  the  dark  until  she  felt  her  hamper. 

Camping  311 

^'  Here's  a  night-dress  of  mine.  Jump  into  it  as 
fast  as  ever  you  can,  for  I'm  just  dying  to  know 
what  scared  you." 

"  Whar  shall  I  hang  my  clothes  ?  " 

^'  We  have  a  line  up  at  the  other  end  of  the 
tent,  but  don't  stop  to  find  it.  Drop  them  on 
the  floor  anywhere." 

Bed  was  so  inviting,  and  Beth  was  evidently 
so  anxious  to  have  her  beside  her  that  Carol  did 
as  told,  and  in  a  moment  more,  was  snuggling 
down  under  the  most  comfortable  blanket,  be- 
neath which  it  had  never  been  her  lot  to  sleep. 

"  l!^ow,  Carol,  tell  me  what  scared  you.  Begin 
from  the  first." 

Still  Carol  hesitated. 

"  Do  go  on,"  Beth  whispered. 

"  Well,  even  after  hit  grew  dark  I  never  onct 
thought  of  bein'  scared.  I'm  used  to  goin'  'round 
by  myself,  an'  I  played  I  was  a  bird  an'  sang  an' 
sang.  I  couldn't  fly  like  a  bird,  but  hit  didn't 
seem  half  so  far  by  pretendin'  'though  hit  war 
powerful  dark." 

"  Well  I  should  say  so,"  assented  Beth.  "  I 
stubbed  my  own  toes  before  I  ran  into  you.  I 
don't  see  how  you  dared  come  up  alone." 

"I  wanted  to  cum  so  powerful  much  that's 
why.  And  not  'til  I  got  up  by  the  railroad  track 
below  here,  did  I  have  anythin'  to  really  an' 
truly  scare  me.  Then  I  got  right  in  'mong  some 
men  'fore  I  knowed  any  was  thar.     The  rain  had 

312         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

most  beaten  out  their  fire  an'  most  had  gone  in 
the  tent — they  have  a  camp  thar,  an'  I  reckon 
they'd  all  been  drinkin'  an'  some  had  drunk  too 
much  to  know  'nough  to  get  out  of  the  rain. 
An'  I  ran  right  into  one  of  'em,  an'  he  tried  to 
grab  me,  but  I  jes'  took  to  my  heels  an'  scooted." 

"  And  was  it  then  that  you  dropped  your 
bundle  ?  " 

"  JSTo,  not  'til  I  hearn  some  one  chasin'  me.  I 
dodged  into  the  bushes  an'  I  wuz  that  scared 
that  I  dropped  my  bundle,  an'  wouldn't  stop  to 
hunt  hit." 

"  Did  they  catch  you  ?  " 

"  No,  hit  wuz  so  dark  the  man  couldn't  keep 
track  of  me,  but  I  saw  him  agin." 

"  You  did  ?  My,  you  must  have  been  terribly 
frightened.     How  did  it  happen  ?  " 

"I — I,"  stammered  Carol,  dreading  to  tell 
more,  but  seeing  no  way  of  evading  Beth's  ques- 
tioning. "  I  'most  stumbled  over  him  when  I 
cum  out  from  the  bushes.  For  a  moment,  I 
'lowed  that  he  wuz  dead,  but  I  found  that  he  war 
only  drunk." 

Beth  marveled  more  and  more  over  Carol's 

"  Carol,  what " 

"Beth,  stop  talking  or  I'll  have  papa  make 
you,"  threatened  Marian,  who  had  been  restless 
for  a  few  minutes  past. 

"  All  right,  Marian.     Good-night,  Carol," 

Camping  313 

"  Good-night,"  murmured  the  mountain  girl, 
but  sleep  would  not  come  to  relieve  her  mind. 

"  I'm  moighty  glad  I  didn't  have  to  tell  her," 
she  thought,  stifling  her  sobs.  "  I'd  hate  dreadful 
fer  her  to  know.     Supposin'  I'd  have  had  to  say 

to  her, '  The  drunken  man  was  my '  "  the  last 

word  was  smothered  by  her  tears. 

Even  when  sleep  finally  came,  it  brought  little 
rest  to  her  mind.  She  dreamed  that  the  man  in 
the  road  had  followed  her  to  camp.  She  even 
thought  she  heard  Duke  barking,  but  that  did 
not  drive  the  man  away.  Then  Carol  cried  out 
in  her  sleep  : 

''  Go  'way.  Don't  come  here  an'  make  me 
wish  myself  dead." 

So  piercing  was  her  cry  that  it  not  only 
wakened  the  girls,  but  Mr.  Davenport  and 
Harvey  wakened  also. 

"What's  the  matter?"  called  Mr.  Daven- 

Carol  rubbed  her  eyes  to  make  sure  that  she 
was  only  dreaming. 

"I — I  reckon  I  had  the  nio^htmare  'thouo^h  I 
did  think  Duke  really  barked,"  she  answered. 

Mr.  Davenport  said  no  word  to  the  girls,  but 
he,  too,  thought  Duke  had  barked,  and  that  some 
one  was  moving  near  the  tents.  In  fact  to 
reassure  himself  that  no  intruder  was  about, 
he  got  up  and  looked  outside.  The  storm 
was  over  and  a  full  sized  moon  was  shining  clear. 

3H         ^  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Perfect  quiet  now  reigned,  and  Mr.  Davenport 
decided  that  his  hearty  supper  had  given  him 
bad  dreams,  and  that  a  search  would  not  only  be 
useless,  but  foolish. 

"  Everything's  all  right,"  he  called  across  to 
the  girls.     ^'  So  go  to  sleep  as  I'm  going  to  do." 

Afterward  Carol  was  troubled  with  no  more 
dreams,  although  in  fact  her  nightmare  had  more 
foundation  than  any  of  them  thought.  Still 
the  camp  slept  on  undisturbed  until  morning. 


Duke  is  Missing 

"  Girls,  the  coffee's  steaming,  and  we  have 
breakfast  all  ready.  You  must  hurry  if  you're 
going  to  eat  with  us."  These  were  the  first 
words  thac  greeted  Beth  in  the  morning. 

She  turned  and  saw  Carol  sitting  up  in  bed. 

''  I'd  have  been  up  an  age  an'  gotten  breakfast 
fer  you  uns,  but  my  clothes  ain't  whar  I  left  'em. 
They're  gone  sure." 

''  Gone  ?  "  repeated  Beth,  rubbing  her  eyes. 

"  Yes.  Yer  know  I  left  'em  on  the  floor  like 
yer  said,  an'  yer  kin  see  they  hain't  thar  now." 

Only  for  a  moment  was  Beth  troubled.  To 
Carol's  surprise,  she  smiled.  It  came  to  her 
that  Harvey  was  playing  a  joke  on  them.  She 
sprang  out  of  bed  and  rushed  to  the  opening  of 
the  tent. 

"  Harvey,  Harvey  !  "  she  called,  "  we  want  to 
get  up,  so  please  bring  back  Carol's  clothes  ! " 

"  Hello.  You're  awake,  are  you  ? "  he  an- 

^'JSTow  Harvey,  do  bring  Carol's  clothes  right 

"  Carol's  clothes,"  he  repeated.  "  What  are 
you  talking  about  ?  " 

318         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"  Now,  Harvey,  stop  fooling,  and  bring  them 
back.     We  must  get  dressed." 

"  I  don't  know  anything  about  her  clothes." 
He  spoke  so  decidedly  that  Beth  believed  him, 
but  she  still  thought  there  must  be  some  trick 
about  the  clothes  being  gone.  She  hardly  be- 
lieved her  father  would  indulge  in  such  a  joke, 
but  did  not  know  what  effect  camp  life  might 
have  on  him  so  she  called : 

"  Papa,  do  you  know  where  Carol's  clothes 
are  ?  " 

Keassured  that  he  knew  nothing  about  them, 
Beth  accused  Gustus  of  being  the  mischief-maker 
which  he  emphatically  denied. 

"  They  can't  be  gone,"  declared  Beth  to  Carol. 
"  Where  did  you  put  them  ? 

"You  must  be  mistaken,"  she  added  when 
Carol  pointed  to  the  floor  near  the  edge  of  the 
tent.  "  Maybe  you  put  them  on  the  bed  and 
they've  fallen  underneath."  But,  search  as  she 
did,  the  missing  articles  were  nowhere  to  be 

The  other  girls  looked  to  see  if  any  of  their  be- 
longings were  gone,  but  not  a  single  article  was 
missing  except  the  clothing  of  Carol. 

"  They  must  have  reached  in  an'  jes'  grabbed 
my  things,  an'  maybe  they  were  scared  'way 
when  I  cried  out,"  said  Carol. 

"  It's  a  perfect  shame,  Carol,"  Beth  said  when 
she  had  to  admit  that  the  clothes  had  been  stolen. 

Duke  is  Missing  319 

"If  anything  had  to  be  taken,  it  should  have 
been  some  of  our  things  instead  of  yours.  You're 
our  visitor,  you  know,  and  I  was  to  blame  for 
telling  you  to  drop  them  on  the  floor." 

"  Yer  didn't  know,"  answered  Carol,  dispirit- 
edly. She  was  greatly  depressed,  but  it  was 
caused  more  by  a  fear  that  had  entered  her  mind 
than  by  the  loss  she  had  sustained.  Not  for  the 
world  would  she  voice  her  fear,  and  she  tried  not 
to  think  of  it  even. 

"  What  can  Carol  wear  ?  "  demanded  Julia. 

"  She  can  wear  some  of  my  things,"  answered 
Beth.  "  They'll  be  a  little  large,  but  it'll  be  bet- 
ter than  staying  in  bed." 

All  of  Beth's  clothes  proved  vastly  too  large 
for  Carol,  nevertheless  she  arrayed  herself  in 
them  without  a  murmur. 

"  You  are  a  sight,"  said  Beth,  laughingly. 

Carol  felt  the  tears  which  she  had  been  trying 
to  choke  down  for  some  time  rising,  but  Beth's 
thoughtless  raillery  made  her  lose  control  for  a 

"  Why,  Carol,  don't  you  know  I'm  only  jok- 
ing ?  "  Beth  whispered  contritely,  not  wishing  the 
girls  to  see  Carol  in  tears. 

Carol  stifled  her  sobs.  "  I — I  know  hit  an'  hit 
— it  ain't  what  yer  said.     No " 

"  Girls,  you  must  hurry,"  called  Mr.  Daven- 
port. "  Breakfast  is  all  on  the  table,  and  Harvey 
and  1  can't  wait  another  moment." 

320         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

^'  I — I  don't  like  to  have  'em  see  me,"  said 
Carol  still  with  a  catch  in  her  voice. 

"  Don't  you  mind,  Carol.  I'll  go  out  and 
make  it  all  right,  and  then  you  come  when  I 

Marion  and  Julia  had  gone  out  and  now  Beth 
skipped  out  leaving  Carol  alone.  She  sank  down 
on  the  edge  of  the  bed  covering  her  face  with 
her  hands. 

"  She  thinks  hit's  the  clothes  I  mind,"  she 
moaned  to  herself.  "  But  hit's  worse  to  'low  as 
how  yer  own  paw  is " 

"  Come  on,  Carol,"  Beth  called  joyously. 
"  They  say  they'll  be  glad  to  see  you,  no  matter 
what  you  wear." 

Carol  rose  and  brushed  the  tears  away,  and 
started  out  obediently.  She  slipped  into  the  va- 
cant place  at  the  table  reserved  for  her,  and 
Gustus,  alone,  outwardly  noted  her  queer  appear- 
ance. He  was  waiting  on  table  and  started  to 
giggle,  but  a  shake  of  the  head  from  Beth  turned 
the  giggle  into  a  cough. 

"  He,  he — ho — I — I  must  done  taken  cole  las' 
night,"  he  muttered. 

"  Well,  Carol,  we're  sorry,  very  sorry,  that 
your  visit  has  started  so  badly,  but  we'll  make  up 
your  loss  to  you,  and  j^ou  must  enjoy  yourself 
immensely  all  the  rest  of  the  time  you  are  with 
us,"  said  Mr.  Davenport  kindly,  as  he  passed  a 
heaping  plate  her  way. 

Duke  is  Missing  321 

"  Papa,  who  do  you  suppose  took  the  things  ?  " 
asked  Marian. 

Carol  choked  over  the  mouthful  she  had  just 
taken,  and  her  heart  beat  convulsively. 

"  Some  sneak  thief  most  probably." 

The  color  came  back  to  Carol's  face,  but  she 
had  little  appetite  for  her  breakfast. 

"  I  wish  we  could  all  go  down  to  the  train  to 
meet  mamma  and  Maggie,  but  I  suppose  some- 
body should  watch  camp  especially  after  the  rob- 
bery," said  Beth.  "  I'd  trust  Duke  to  watch 
only  being  strange  here  he  might  run  away." 

"  Let  me  stay  with  him,"  answered  Carol.  "  I 
wouldn't  like  to  go  down  this  way.  Do  let  me 
stay  with  him." 

"  Are  you  sure  you  don't  mind,  Carol  ?  " 

"  ]^o,  I  wants  ter  stav." 

"  Then  the  rest  of  us  can  all  go.  It'll  be  great 
fun  for  us  all  to  escort  them  up  here,  and  you'll 
not  be  long  alone,  Carol." 

Carol  assisted  Gustus  with  the  dishes,  and  then 
helped  the  girls  with  the  beds,  after  which  it 
^vas  time  to  go  to  the  train. 

"  Take  good  care  of  Duke.  I  wouldn't  have 
him  run  away  for  the  world,"  was  Beth's  parting 

Immediately  after  they  were  gone,  Carol  be- 
gan busying  herself  in  preparing  things  for  the 
noonday  meal.  First  she  fixed  the  table,  and 
then  she  took  a  pan  of  potatoes  and  with  Duke 

322  A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

beside  her,  sat  down  on  a  log  to  peel  them.  She 
was  not  in  the  least  lonely  for  her  mind  and 
hands  were  both  busy. 

"  Duke,"  she  said,  stopping  a  moment  to  pat  his 
head,  "yer  mistress  is  powerful  good  to  us  both, 
an'  we  uns  must  do  all  we  kin  fer  her.  That's 
why  I'm  workin'  now,  so's  she'll  be  pleased  when 
they  git  back,  fer  then  we'll  all  have  time  to  visit, 
an'  I  have  somethin'  I  must  tell  her.  I  don't 
know  what  to  do.  I  want  ter  'mount  ter  some- 
thin'  so's  she'll  be  proud  that  she  helped  we  uns, 
but  I'd  hate  awful  to  leave  her." 

Carol  went  back  to  peeling  potatoes,  while  in 
her  eyes  there  came  a  far-off  look  for  she  was  go- 
ing over  in  her  mind  the  visit  Mrs.  Morton  had 
made  her  the  afternoon  before,  and  all  that  had 
been  said.  She  had  gone  with  Mrs.  Morton  down 
to  the  spring  and  there  they  had  sat  upon  the 
very  log  where  Beth  had  rested  the  day  of  her 
first  memorable  visit. 

'*  Carol,  my  husband  has  telegraphed  for  me  to 
come  home  because  he  finds  it  impossible  to  join 
me  here  as  we  had  planned,"  began  Mrs.  Mor- 

"  I'm  powerful  sorry  to  have  yer  go.  Yer've 
been  so  good  to  me,"  murmured  Carol.  "  I'll 
hate  never  to  see  yer  again,  but  perhaps  yer'll  be 
comin'  down  this  way  agin." 

"  That's  very  probable,  Carol,  but  I  want  to 
take  you  North  with  me  now." 

Duke  is  Missing  323 

"  Take  me  North  ?  "  gasped  Carol,  not  believing 
her  senses. 

"  After  I  heard  you  sing,  I  decided  your  voice 
ought  to  be  cultivated,"  continued  Mrs.  Morton. 
"  Then  when  word  came  from  my  husband,  I 
hurried  right  down  here  to  ask  you  to  go  back 
with  me.  We  live  out  in  the  country,  but  near 
the  city,  so  that  you  could  go  in  town  for  lessons, 
and  I  could  help  you,  for  I  used  to  be  quite 
musical  myself." 

"  An'  what  could  I  ever  do  to  pay  yer  back  ?  " 

Mrs.  Morton  looked  at  her  very  kindly,  liking 
her  more  because  her  first  thought  was  of  grati- 
tude. "  There'll  be  many,  many  ways  in  which 
you  can  repay  me,  Carol.  In  the  first  place, 
your  singing  of  itself  will  be  a  comfort  to  me, 
for  I  have  little  ambition  to  keep  up  my  own 
playing,  but  with  you  there  it  will  be  different. 
Since  my  baby  died  " — she  had  to  pause  a  mo- 
ment before  going  on,  *'  I  never  go  any  place, 
and  my  husband  and  I  are  lonely.  He'll  like  to 
have  you,  I  know.  Your  fondness  for  dogs  will 
appeal  to  him,  and  then  he'll  be  glad  to  have  me 
take  an  interest  in  music  again.  He'll  approve, 
I  am  sure.  It  is  partly  for  his  sake  that  I  am 
asking  you  to  go.     Will  you  go  ?  " 

"  How  could  I  leave  'Liz'beth  ?  " 

Aofain  Mrs.  Morton  liked  her  better  for  her 
unselfish  thought.  "  I  am  a  rich  woman,  Carol, 
that  is,  as  far  as  money  goes,"  she  added.     "  My 

324         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

father  left  me  all  he  had,  as  my  mother  died 
before  he  did,  and  I  had  no  brothers  or  sisters. 
Then  my  husband  has  more  than  enough  for 
both  of  us,  and,  as  you  know,  I  have  no  children 

Carol's  heart  went  out  more  and  more  to  her 
as  she  spoke.  She  realized  more  than  ever  what 
Mrs.  Morton's  loss  had  been  to  her,  but  she  could 
think  of  no  words  of  comfort. 

"  So,"  continued  Mrs.  Morton,  after  a  moment, 
"  I  can  well  afford  to  pay  your  mother  for  letting 
me  take  you  North  with  me,  so  that  she  can 
hire  some  one  to  take  your  place." 

"  Hit  don't  seem  as  if  we'd  be  doin'  much  fer 
you  alls  in  exchange." 

Again  Mrs.  Morton  smiled.  "Do  not  worry 
over  that  part.  Besides  what  I've  told  you  that 
you  are  to  do,  I  shall  expect  you  to  help  in  many 
ways  about  my  house.  I  want  you  to  try  it  for 
this  coming  winter,  anyway,  and  then  if  my  plan 
does  not  work — well,  I'll  send  3^ou  back  home. 
I^either  of  us  will  be  worse  off  for  the  experi- 
ence, I  think.     Will  you  go  ?  " 

Carol  looked  wistful.  "  Hit's  not  that  I  hain't 
thankful,  but  I'd  like  to  talk  hit — it  ov^r  ^vith 
Beth  Davenport  first." 

"  You  must  decide  at  once,  for  I  will  have  to 
start  home  dav  after  to-morrow ; "  but  when  she 
saw  the  blank  look  on  Carol's  face,  she  added, 
"or  the  day  after  that  at  the  very  latest." 


Duke  is  Missing  325 

"I  couldn't  go  without  seeing  Beth  Daven- 
port," Carol  cried.  "  But  I'll  go  up  to  camp,  an' 
if  she  says  to  go,  I'll  cum  back  to-morrow,  an'  go 
with  yer." 

Mrs.  Morton  was  well  satisfied  with  the  ar- 
rangement, for  she  felt  very  sure  of  the  advice 
Beth  would  give,  so  she  went  into  the  hut  and 
made  all  necessary  arrangements  with  Carol's 

And  now  as  Carol  sat  on  the  log  peeling 
potatoes  she,  herself,  knew,  although  not  a  word 
had  been  said  to  Beth,  that  she  was  having  her 
parting  visit  with  Beth,  unless  one  thing  pre- 

"  I'll  have  to  tell  Mrs.  Morton  'bout  las'  night," 
Carol  thought.  "  An'  maybe  she'll  not  want  me 
then.  Hit — it  wouldn't  be  honorable  not  to  tell. 
Maybe  she'll  think  me  a  thief,  too,"  and  tears 
started  afresh  down  Carol's  pale  cheeks. 

A  sudden  growl  from  Dake  made  her  start 
and  look  around.  Standing  not  far  from  her 
was  a  man  with  his  back  toward  her.  She 
jumped  to  her  feet  and  the  dish  of  potatoes  fell 
to  the  ground  while  some  of  them  rolled  out  on 
the  dirt,  but  Carol  was  unmindful  of  this. 

"  Paw,"  she  cried  shrilly,  "  what  yer  doin' 
here  ?  " 

"  Hello,  Carol,  I  met  the  folks  down  below  an' 
they  tole  me  yer  were  here  alone,"  he  answered 

326         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

She  hardly  knew  whether  to  believe  him.  She 
feared  he  might  have  come  with  some  evil  intent 
— not  to  her,  but  to  the  camp. 

"  Oh,  paw ! "  she  cried,  breaking  into  tears, 
"only  go  'way  an'  I'll  never  tell." 

"  What  yer  talkin*  'bout,  Carol  ?  "  he  demanded, 
seemingly  both  puzzled  and  angry. 

"  Yer  know,  paw.  I  mean  'bout  yer  bein'  here 
last  night." 

He  eyed  her  suspiciously.  "  I  warn't  near  here 
last  night — no  sech  thing." 

"  Paw,  I  wouldn't  have  believed  hit  myself  if 
I  hadn't  knowed  that  hit  war  yer  drunk  by  yer 
words  when  I  stumbled  over  yer  in  the  dark," 
she  responded  solemnly. 

He  looked  at  her  sullenly  but  made  no  answer. 

*^  Paw,  do  yer  deny  that  yer  war  down  below 
drunk  las'  night  ?  "  she  demanded  after  a  moment 
more  of  painful  silence. 

Still  he  made  no  reply,  but  he  hung  his  head, 
.which  w^as  suflBcient  acknowledgment  to  Carol, 
who  had  expected  no  denial,  for  she  thought  her 
father  a  truthful  man  when  sober. 

"  Paw,  war  hit  'cause  yer  war  drunk  that  yer 

cum  here  an'  st "  she  could  not  bring  herself 

to  say  stole  although  the  taking  of  her  clothes  was 
a  theft.     So  she  substituted,  "  took  my  clothes  ?  " 

Now  he  looked  her  full  in  the  face.  "  Took 
yer  clothes  ?  "  he  repeated.  "  I  don't  know  what 
yer  mean." 

Duke  is  Missing  327 

She  gazed  at  him  intently  to  judge  him  by  his 
expression  as  well  as  by  his  words,  and  the 
puzzled  look  on  his  face  made  her  hopeful. 

"  Jes'  after  I  met  yer  on  the  road  las'  night 
some  one  cum  here  an'  stole  my  clothes  from  the 
tent  thar  an'  I  feared  hit  war  yer.  Didn't  yer  do 
hit,  paw  ?  Didn't  yer  do  hit  ?  "  she  demanded, 

Surging  red  blood  arose  in  his  face,  but  still  his 
eye  did  not  waver  before  hers.  "  I  know  I've 
sunk  low,  Carol,  but  not  that  low,  an'  hit's  ter'ble 
that  my  own  chile  thinks  that  mean  of  me.  I 
see  that  yer  think  me  a  thief." 

The  accusing  look  on  her  face  gave  way  to 
joy.  She  was  so  glad  that  she  was  almost  hys- 
terical. "I  don't  think  hit  now,  paw.  I  don't 
think  hit  now,  an'  a  powerful  bad  feelin's  gone 
from  here,"  she  cried,  placing  her  hand  over  her 

"  An'  yer  clothes  war  really  took  ?  "  he  ques- 
tioned. And  when  she  nodded  her  head,  he  con- 
tinued, "  Some  of  them  men  down  thar  took 
um  then,  Carol.  They're  a  pretty  bad  lot,  an' 
even  while  I  wuz  drinkin'  with  um  las'  night  I 
wanted  to  get  'way  from  um.  An'  when  yer  ran 
into  me  an'  I  knowed  yer  even  though  hit  war 
dark,  I  had  a  feelin'  yer  moight  save  me  from  um 
an'  so  when  yer  run  from  me  that's  why  I  run 
after  yer.     Why  did  yer  run  from  me,  Carol  ?  " j4^>- 

Now  it  was  her  turn  to  hang  her  head.      "  At-*^ 

328         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

firs'  I  didn't  know  yer  an'  war  scared,  an'  then, 
an'  then "  she  faltered. 

"  An'  then  yer  knowed  me  an'  war  more 
scared,"  and  she  could  not  deny  his  statement. 
Whereupon  he  turned  to  Duke  and  began  patting 
his  head  as  if  seeking  comfort  from  the  dog. 
Duke  did  not  repel  his  advances,  but  seemed  to 
enjoy  them. 

"  Is  this  the  animal  that's  worth  so  much, 
Carol  ?  " 

She  nodded  at  him  through  her  tears. 

"  I'd  like  the  money  yer'd  bring  moightily," 
muttered  Samuel  Cornwell,  and  added,  "  I  cum 
here,  Carol,  to  bid  yer  good-bye.  Yer'll  not  see 
me  fer  a  long  time,  an'  maybe  never,  'less  I  do 

*'  Ye're  goin'  'way,  paw  ! "  she  cried,  remorse- 

"  Yes,  so  good-bye,  Carol." 

"  Yer^ll  go  an'  say  good-bye  to  maw,"  she 

He  shook  his  head  stubbornly.  "  'Tain't  best, 
an'  I  won't  do  hit." 

''  Paw " 

"  I'll  not  listen  to  no  more,"  and  away  he 
started  toward  the  road. 

Carol  was  half  minded  to  follow,  but,  from  past 
experience,  she  knew  that  pleading  was  of  no 
avail,  and  so  instead  she  turned  and  walked  down 
the  path  toward  the  falls,  forgetting  in  her  ex- 

Duke  is  Missing  329 

citement  that  Duke  had  been  left  to  her  charge. 
At  first,  he  was  inclined  to  go  with  her  but  when 
he  saw  that  she  took  no  notice  of  him,  he  turned 
and  without  her  heeding  his  action  in  the  least 
started  down  the  road  after  Samuel  Cornwell. 
The  man,  unheeding  the  dog,  soon  turned  from 
the  main  road  into  a  path  through  the  woods 
that  was  a  shorter  cut  down  the  mountain  and 
Duke  followed  stealthily  in  the  path  after 

Meantime,  Carol  at  the  falls  seated  herself  on  a 
rock  a  short  distance  below  them. 

"  I'm  so  glad  he  didn't  take  the  things,"  she 
kept  thinking  over  and  over  to  herself. 

*'  Thar's  nothin'  to  keep  me  now  from  goin'," 
she  added  presently.  "  I'll  have  to  walk  down 
home  this  afternoon,  but  that'll  be  nothin'. 
Hit's  sayin'  good-bye  to  Beth  Davenport  I  mind. 
I  love  Mrs.  Morton,  but  not  like  I  love  Beth 
Davenport,  an'  bein'  with  Mrs.  Morton  won't  be 
like  bein'  with  Beth  though  Mrs.  Morton's 
powerful  good  to  me,  an'  when  I'm  up  North 
with  her,  I'll  do  everythin'  I  kin  fer  her." 

Then  she  began  speculating  as  to  what  her 
home  in  the  IS'orth  would  be  like,  and  she  knew 
vaguely  that  she  would  miss  the  mountains,  for 
Mrs.  Morton  had  told  her  the  country  around  her 
home  was  mostly  flat  except  for  a  few  hills. 
But  it  was  of  the  singing  lessons  that  she  had 
been     promised    that    she    thought    the    most. 

330         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Hardly  did  it  seem  credible  that  she,  Carol,  was 
to  have  her  voice  cultivated. 

Suddenly  she  remembered  that  it  must  be  fully 
time  for  the  campers  to  be  returning  from  the 
train.  She  knew  by  the  sun  that  it  was  growing 
late.  She  arose  hastily  and  hurried  back  to  the 
tents,  where  she  first  missed  Duke. 

"  Duke,  Duke !  Come,  Duke ! "  she  called,  wildly, 
but  no  dog  came  bounding  at  the  call.  Over  and 
over  she  cried  his  name,  even  more  frantically, 
but  without  response.  Whereupon  she  broke 
down  crying  helplessly. 

Suddenly  it  came  to  her  that  perhaps  he  had 
only  wandered  down  to  meet  Beth.  Hastily  she 
ran  out  to  the  road  and  started  down-hill  to  see. 

In  a  moment,  even  before  she  could  see  any  of 
them  because  of  the  turn  in  the  road,  she  heard 
their  voices.  Carol  felt  as  if  she  was  suffocating. 
She  hurriedly  rushed  behind  some  bushes  at  the 
side  of  the  road  that  would  perfectly  screen  her 
from  their  sight. 

"  I  can't  see  her  if  Duke's  not  with  her.  I 
can't  do  hit,"  she  sobbed  to  herself.  "  I'd  never 
dare  see  her  agin  if  he's  gone." 

As  they  drew  near  so  fearful  was  Carol  that 
she  hardly  dared  peek  out,  but  at  last,  holding  her 
breath  for  fear  of  being  detected,  she  looked. 

Duke  was  not  with  them. 

Too  overcome  for  tears,  as  they  passed,  she 
sank  down  on  the  ground  where  she  was  hiding 

Duke  is  Missing  331 

and  an  utterly  hopeless  look  settled  on  her  face. 
Her  father's  words  kept  ringing  in  her  ears. 

"  Is  this  the  animal  that's  worth  so  much, 
Carol  ? "  And  then  right  afterward,  "  I'd  like 
the  money  yer'd  bring  moightily." 

*'  He's  a  thief  after  all.  He's  stolen  the  dog, 
and  Beth  Davenport  '11  hate  me  ever  an'  ever," 
muttered  Carol  fiercely. 

Her  next  impulse  was  to  fly,  as  if  she  herself 
were  the  thief  who  might  be  pursued.  Assuring 
herself  that  the  campers  were  beyond  sight,  she 
stole  out  on  the  road  and  fled  panting  down  to- 
ward the  railroad.  On  and  on  she  sped,  neither 
saving  of  her  breath  nor  strength.  Unreasoning 
fear  drove  her  on. 

At  the  railroad  she  paused  uncertain  which 
way  to  turn,  and  now  her  reasoning  power  re- 

"  If  I  but  knowed  which  way  paw  went,  I 
moight  overtake  him  an'  get  Duke  back.  He's  a 
big  start  of  me,  but  I'd  run  'til  I  dropped,  but  I 
can't  tell  which  way  to  go.  Oh,  God  !  show  me 
how  to  go,"  she  prayed. 

"While  she  stood  undecided  which  course  to 
pursue,  the  thought  flashed  into  her  mind,  ''  If  I 
go  to  the  camp  whar  he  was  las'  night,  I  may 
find  him  thar." 

So  she  hastened  to  the  camp,  which  she  had 
no  trouble  in  locating,  as  it  was  only  across  the 
track  by  the  roadside. 

332         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

No  one,  seemingly,  was  around  the  place,  but 
the  flaps  of  the  tent  were  tied  back,  which 
allowed  Carol  to  peek  within. 

The  first  object  her  eye  beheld  was  her  stolen 
bundle  of  clothes  on  the  floor.  So  surprised  was 
she  at  this  discovery  that  she  did  not  see  a  man 
partly  hidden  under  a  blanket  over  in  the  far- 
thest corner  of  the  tent,  but  he  was  not  sleeping, 
and  happened  to  have  his  face  her  way. 

"  What  yer  doin'  here  ?  "  he  demanded  gruffly, 
sitting  up. 

Carol  was  so  startled  and  frightened  that  she 
simply  stood  still,  gazing  helplessly  at  the  dark 
tousled  head  with  its  sinister  face. 

"  What  yer  up  to,  I  say  ?  "  he  again  demanded. 

"I — I'm  huntin'  my  paw,"  she  finally  stam- 

"  Who  be  yer  paw  ?  " 

"  Sara'el  Cornwell.     Have  yer  seen  him  ?  " 

"  No,  he  hain't  been  back  here  since  las'  night." 

In  one  way  the  answer  was  a  relief  to  Carol, 
for  if  her  father  had  not  been  near  the  place,  he 
could  not  have  left  the  bundle  there.  But  to 
make  more  positive,  she  asked  timidly  : 

"  He — he  didn't  leave  any  thin'  here,  did  he  ? 
Whose  bundle  is  that  ?  " 

The  man  scowled  at  her  suspiciously.  "  Who 
sent  yer  'round  here  axin'  questions  ?  " 

"  No  one.     I'm  jes'  huntin'  my  paw." 

The  answer  quieted  the  man's  suspicions,  for 

Duke  is  Missing  333 

he  saw  by  her  looks  that  Carol  was  unmistakably 
Cornwell's  daughter,  as  she  said. 

"That  bundle's  mine.  Some  friends  up  on  the 
mountain  want  me  to  keep  hit  fer  um,  but  they 
fooled  me  into  thinkin'  hit  moight  be  worth 
somethin',  but  hit  ain't,"  he  explained.  "  Don't 
bother  me  no  more.  I  wanter  sleep,"  he  added, 

Carol  did  not  dare  claim  her  belongings,  for 
the  man  looked  so  evil  that  she  did  not  know 
what  he  might  do  to  her.  To  have  proof  posi- 
tive that  her  father  did  not  steal  the  bundle, 
made  her  so  thankful  that  in  her  present  state  of 
mind,  it  made  little  difference  if  she  never  got 
her  clothes  back. 

Whichever  way  she  decided  to  take,  she  knew 
the  railroad  track  was  a  more  direct  line  than 
any  road,  therefore  hurried  back  that  way. 

"  I'll  go  toward  home,"  she  decided,  "  an'  if  I 
can't  get  Duke  back,  I'll  go  'way  with  Mrs. 
Morton,  so  's  Beth'll  'low  that's  why  I  ran 

Around  a  curve,  down  the  track,  she  flew, 
when  suddenly  just  ahead  of  her  were  two  men 
working  over  a  hand-car. 

"  Maybe  they'll  'low  me  to  ride  with  um,"  she 
thought,  and  then  she  noted  that  they  both  wore 
convict  stripes. 

"  What  kin  I  do  ? "  she  wondered,  with  her 
heart  thumping  wildly.     "  If  I  go  on,  they  may 

334         ^  ilifatc/  of  the  Mountains 

do  somethin'  to  me,  but  if   I  doa't  go  on,  I'll 
never  get  Duke  back." 

She  was  greatly  inclined  to  hide  in  the  woods 
at  her  right,  and  even  started  that  way,  until  she 
saw  one  of  the  convicts  looking  at  her. 

"  Have  yer  seen  anythin'  of  a  man  with  a 
dog  ?  "  she  faltered. 

"  No,"  he  answered,  and  added  to  his  com- 
panion, "  Thar,  Bill,  I  reckon  as  how  hit  may  hold 
'til  we  get  down  the  mountain,"  and  on  the  car 
they  jumped. 

Quickly  Carol  decided  on  heroic  measures. 

"  Wait !  "  she  cried,  running  to  them. 

"They  don't  look  as  bad  as  the  man  in  the 
tent,"  she  thought.  "  If  they  didn't  wear  stripes, 
thar'd  be  nothin'  to  fear,  an'  I  jes'  must  trust  um 

"  Can't  I  ride  with  yer  ?  "  she  begged.  "  Please, 
please  let  me  ride.  I'm  in  a  ter'ble  hurry,"  she 

Doubtfully,  they  eyed  her,  and  she  thought 
they  were  escaping  from  justice,  and  feared  her 
betraying  them. 

"  I — I  won't  tell,"  she  murmured. 

Her  words  were  unmeaning  to  them,  and  one 
of  the  convicts  said  : 

"  The  brake's  out  of  order,  an'  hit  moight  go 
wrong  agin,  an'  then  no  tellin'  what'd  happen." 

"  I'm  not  skeered,  an'  if  yer'll  only  let  me  ride, 
I'll  not  blame  yer  if  I'm  hurt." 

Duke  is  Missing  335 

"  All  right  then.  Hop  on,  an'  hole  on  tight. 
In  a  few  minutes,  we'll  be  comin'  to  the  stitfest 
grade  here'bouts." 

In  an  instant  she  was  up  beside  them  and  away 
they  started.  Then  it  came  to  Carol  that  if  she 
did  not  see  her  father  on  the  way  that  she  should 
get  off  at  Tremont,  but  her  convict  companions 
might  object  to  her  so  doing. 

"  Will  yer  be  skeered  to  let  me  off  at  Tre- 
mont ?  "  This  question  formed  in  her  mind,  but 
she  was  too  fearful  of  their  displeasure  to  say  it 
aloud.  Over  and  over  she  tried  to  think  of  some 
better  way  of  putting  it  to  them. 

"  We're  only  goin'  as  far  as  Tremont,"  an- 
nounced one  of  the  convicts,  greatly  to  her 

"  They're  not  runnin'  'way  then,"  she  thought. 
Now  she  remembered  that  a  few  of  the  best  con- 
victs were  sometimes  sent  on  errands.  Up  in  the 
mountains  she  had  seen  convicts  working  the 
roads,  and  knew  that  those  that  were  about  to  be 
released  were  trusted. 

By  this  time,  the  car  was  beginning  to  fly  down 
grade.  Peering  ahead,  Carol  saw  that  an  exciting 
ride  lay  before  her.  The  road-bed  wound  along 
the  side  of  the  mountain  and  sometimes  there 
was  a  wall  of  rock  to  the  right,  while  to  the  left 
was  a  sheer  descent  into  the  valley  below. 
Again  the  way  had  been  cut  through  solid  rock, 
and  they  flew  faster  and  faster  every  second. 

33^         -A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

"Put    the    brake    on,   Bill.     Is   hit  goin*   to 

hor  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  but,  even  as  the  answer  came,  the  brake 
again  refused  to  hold. 

"  Hit  won't  work.  I  can't  nohow  make  hit 
work,"  cried  Bill,  in  terror.  "  I'll  jes'  have  to  let 
her  go." 

"  An'  goin'  may  land  us  in  hell.  Hoi'  on,  gal, 
fer  yer  life ! " 

No  such  warning  was  needed  by  Carol.  She 
was  holding  on  with  all  her  might.  Notwith- 
standing they  were  going  so  fast  that  it  took  her 
breath  away,  she  was  not  particularly  frightened. 
Being  so  wrought  up  over  the  loss  of  Duke,  made 
her  unmindful  of  what  became  of  her. 

"  Maybe  if  Beth  Davenport  sees  me  dead,  she'll 
fergive  me,"  she  thought. 

Yet  to  be  dashed  to  pieces  down  among  those 
immense  rocks  seemed  so  horrible  that  she  was 
almost  tempted  to  jump. 

"  Hoi'  on ! "  cried  the  convict  again,  perhaps 
reading  her  thought. 

The  trees  on  either  side  now  seemed  like  mere 
shadows,  and  the  landscape  was  all  one  blotted 
mass  at  the  speed  they  were  flying. 

"  If  hit  don't  jump  the  track,  we'll  come  out 
all  right.  The  way's  clear  so's  we  won't  run  into 
anythin',"  cried  Bill. 

That  instant  they  rounded  a  curve  which  re- 
vealed in  the  path  just  ahead  a  man,  while  beside 

Duke  is  Missing  337 

him  trudged  a  dog,  both  unconscious  of  the 
threatening  danger. 

Now  for  the  first  time  Carol  turned  deathly 

"  Paw,  oh,  paw  ! "  she  yelled. 

Duke  bounded  from  the  track,  barking  as  he 
did  so.  Fortunately,  Samuel  Corn  well  heeded 
the  warning.  Without  looking  backward  he 
sprang  after  the  dog  just  as  the  hand-car  grazed 

"Weak  from  what  had  just  happened  Carol's 
hold  relaxed.  Dangerously  near  the  edge  of  the 
car  she  swayed,  but,  just  in  time  to  save  her  from 
falling  over  into  the  ravine,  the  convict  caught 

"  What  yer  doin'  ?  Hole  on  thar,"  he  com- 
manded gruffly. 

Mechanically,  she  obeyed.  Slowly  an  intense 
desire  to  live  possessed  her  mind.  How  terrible 
she  felt  it  would  be  not  to  live ;  not  to  go  back 
for  Duke.  More  and  more  with  the  wish  for 
life,  she  realized  the  danger  of  the  situation. 
Then  suddenly  a  new  peril  confronted  them. 

"  My  God,  ain't  that  a  train  comin'  ?  "  yelled 

Around  the  curve,  just  below  the  down  flying 
hand-car,  a  freight  train,  side-tracked  many  hours 
because  of  a  hot-box,  was  now  slowly  puffing. 

"  We'll  be  smashed  dead.  Thar  ain't  no  hope 
fer  us." 

338         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

But  Bill,  undaunted  in  the  face  of  death,  began 
frantically  fumbling  again  at  the  brake  although 
still  fearing  there  was  no  possibility  of  making  it 

The  engineer  of  the  freight,  shuddering  at 
sight  of  the  hand-car,  had  the  presence  of  mind 
to  reverse  his  engine. 

Samuel  Cornwell,  still  somewhat  dazed  from 
his  own  narrow  escape,  was  horrified  by  the 
tragedy  threatening  his  child. 

"  Oh,  God  !  I've  been  a  poor  father,  an'  I  don't 
know  as  I  ever  can  be  a  good  un,  but  spare  Carol, 
an'  I'll  try,"  he  prayed  which  was  the  first  prayer 
he  had  uttered  for  years.  His  child's  peril  made 
many,  many  bitter  regrets  surge  through  his 
mind  strengthening  him  in  his  resolve  to  atone 
for  the  past  if  he  could. 

Strange  to  say,  as  Carol  faced  death,  bitter  ac- 
cusations against  her  father  lessened.  Her  mind 
even  dwelt  on  him  pityingly. 

"  If  hit  hadn't  been  f er  licker,  he'd  'ave  been  a 
good  paw,"  she  thought,  while  a  picture  of  her- 
self as  a  little  child  on  her  father's  lap  flashed 
into  her  mind.     She  had  loved  him  dearly  then. 

"  If  he  hadn't  stole  Duke,  I'd  love  him  still," 
she  sobbed  to  herself.  "He  didn't  know  how 
wicked  hit  wuz.  Maybe  hit'll  cum  to  him  that 
hit  wuz  wrong,  an'  he'll  take  Duke  back  even  if 
I  don't  live  to  ask  hit.  Anyway,  I  can't  die  not 
fergivin'  my  paw.     God  make  him  do  right." 

Duke  is  Missing  339 

Tears  blinded  her  sight,  but  she  believed  that 
any  instant  might  be  her  last. 

'^  God  bless  "Liz'beth  an'  Beth  Davenport  an' 
Mrs.  Morton,  an'  all  the  rest,"  she  prayed  as  an 
earthly  parting  from  her  best  beloved. 

"Hit's  workin'  agin.  The  brake's  sho'ly 
workin',"  cried  Bill. 

Hastily  Carol  brushed  the  tears  away,  and  saw 
that  slowly  but  surely  their  awful  speed  was 
lessening.  The  reprieve  from  death  seemed  too 
good  to  be  true. 

"  Ain't  we  uns  goin'  to  be  killed  ?  "  she  mur- 

"No,  fer  even  if  we  do  buck  into  the  freight, 
hit  won't  do  us  much  damage  now." 

Within  a  few  feet  of  the  freight,  the  hand-car 
was  brought  to  a  standstill  without  even  "  buck- 
ing "  it. 

"  Brakes  be  moighty  quar  things,"  muttered 
Bill  jumping  to  the  ground.  "  When  I  'lowed 
hit  wuz  broke  agin,  hit  must  only  have. been 
caught.  Wall,  pard,"  he  added,  wringing  his 
companion's  hand,  "  death'd  cum  hard  jes'  as  we 
uns  air  to  be  freed." 

Carol  watched  as  the  two  removed  the  hand- 
car from  the  track.  Then  the  freight  puffed 
away,  whereupon  the  convicts  replaced  the  hand- 
car on  the  track  ready  to  proceed. 

"  Have  yer  had  'nuff,  young  un  ?  Air  yer 
scared  ?  "  demanded  Bill. 

340         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

Carol  shook  her  head.  "'Tain't  that  I'm 
scared."  She  looked  up  the  track  to  where  her 
father  and  Duke  were  approaching  slowly.  "  I'll 
wait  fer  him.  He's  my  paw.  I'm  much  'bliged 
fer  my  ride." 

Bill  laughed.  "  Wall,  hit  wuz  excitin'  at  any 

Northvjdrd  Bound 

The  nearer  Samuel  Cornwell  came,  the  more 
Carol's  heart  sank.  She  was  bound  to  have  Duke 
back  but  she  dreaded  accusing  her  father,  so  she 
waited  for  him  to  speak  first. 

He,  on  his  side,  was  also  embarrassed.  It  was 
unusual  for  him  to  be  so  deeply  stirred  as  he  had 
been  when  he  thought  Carol  would  be  dashed  to 
pieces,  but  now  he  did  not  wish  her  to  see  how 
much  he  had  cared.  He  had,  therefore,  waited 
to  grow  calmer  before  joining  her. 

"  Wall,  Carol,  air  yer  goin'  on  hum  now  ? " 
was  all  he  asked. 

"  E'o,  I'm  goin'  back  to  camp,"  and  her  eyes 
flashed,  thinking  of  Duke. 

"  Then  yer  kin  take  him  back  with  yer,"  he 
answered  indicating  Duke. 

Tears  rose  in  her  eyes  so  glad  was  she  that  he 
had  repented.  "  Why  did  yer  take  him  ?  "  she 
demanded  impetuously. 

"  I  didn't  take  him.     He  followed  me." 

She  looked  as  incredulous  as  she  felt,  and  he, 
noting  it,  cried : 

"  Carol,  yer  didn't  think  I  stole  him  ?  " 

344         -^  -Mate/  of  the  Mountains 

There  was  such  a  ring  of  horror  in  his  voice 
and  his  manner  was  such  that  she  instantly  knew 
that  she  had  misjudged  him.  Rather  than  to  let 
him  see  how  she  had  suspected  him,  she  chose  to 
lie  outright. 

"  Of  course,  I  didn't  think  hit,  paw." 

His  look  softened.  "  Hit  wuz  this  way,  Carol. 
He  followed  me  a  long  ways,  'fore  I  seed  him,  an' 
then  I  tried  to  drive  him  back,  but  he  wuz  bound 
to  follow.  I  reckon  he  wanted  ter  go  hum  bein' 
strange  up  thar.  That's  the  way  I  figgered  hit 
out.  An'  when,  he  wouldn't  go  back  I  'cided  to 
let  him  keep  on  with  me  an'  leave  him  at  the 
Davenports'.  I  hated  ter  go  way  back  with  him 
any  wa3^s,  'sides  which  I  wuz  still  sore  at  yer  fer 
thinkin'  I  took  things." 

Carol  was  thoroughly  contrite  now.  "  Paw,  I 
know  yer  didn't  take  um  an'  I'm  awful  sorry  I 
ever  'lowed  yer  did,"  and  then  she  told  about 
finding  the  bundle  at  camp,  and  added,  "  Yer 
must  fergive  me,  paw.  I'm  goin'  North  with  a 
lady  an'  I  don't  want  yer  to  think  hard  of  me." 
At  first  she  had  not  intended  to  tell  him  about 
Mrs.  Morton's  offer,  but  now  that  her  heart 
had  melted  toward  him,  she  withheld  nothing 
from  him. 

"  Carol,  hit's  a  great  chance,"  he  said,  and  then 
hesitated.  "An' — an' — I  don't  dare  promise 
nothin',  but  I  'low  yer '11  be  happier  if  yer  knows 
I'm  goin'  to  try  to  do  better." 

Northward  Bound  345 

"  Oh,  paw,"  was  all  she  answered,  but  the  way 
she  said  it  fully  satisfied  him,  and  strengthened 
him  in  his  resolve. 

Then  she  kissed  him  good-bye,  and  started  up 
the  mountain  with  Duke.  The  way  seemed  short 
to  her  now  that  her  mind  was  at  peace. 

Half-way  up  the  road  to  Melrose  she  beheld 
Beth  searching  for  her  and  Duke. 

"  He  wandered  off,  an'  I  went  to  find  him," 
was  all  Carol  said  in  explanation. 

"  We  didn't  know  what  to  think,"  answered 
Beth,  and  then  because  her  mind  was  full  of 
another  matter  she  let  the  subject  drop.  "  Carol, 
mamma's  been  telling  me  about  your  going 
North  with  Mrs.  Morton.  Why  didn't  you  tell 
me  about  it  ?  I'm  so  pleased  I  don't  know  what 
to  say.  It's  almost  too  good  to  be  true.  Aren't 
you  delighted  ?  " 

They  were  walking  side  by  side,  with  arm 
locked  in  arm,  and  Beth  was  so  excited  over 
Carol's  good  fortune  that  she  would  have  skipped 
along  had  not  Carol  seemed  so  stolid. 

"  Aren't  you  pleased  ?  "  Beth  demanded  again. 

"Yes,    I'm    pleased,   but "    Carol    could 

hardly  keep  the  tears  down.  "Hit's  hard  to 
leave  yer  and  'Liz'beth.  I  can't  help  thinkin'  of 

"  Well,  I'll  write  you  good  long  letters,  an'  I'll 
be  so  proud  to  hear  of  the  progress  you're 

34^         A  Mdid  of  the  Mountains 

Carol  looked  at  her  wistfully.  "Will  yer 
really  be  proud  if  I  get  'long  well  ?  " 

"I'll  be  awfully,  awfully  proud." 

Her  enthusiasm  cheered  her  companion. 
"  That'll  make  me  try  more'n  ever,"  and  Carol 
smiled  appreciatively.  "An'  Mrs.  Morton  said 
as  how  I  can  take  Brune  with  me.  That'll  make 
me  less  lonesome." 

"  I'm  sorry  for  one  thing.  Mrs.  Morton  has  sent 
for  you  to  come  back  to  Tremont  on  the  after- 
noon train.  She  received  another  telegram  that 
makes  it  positively  necessary  for  her  to  leave  to- 
morrow morning." 

By  this  time  they  w^ere  back  at  camp,  and 
Carol  was  given  a  belated  luncheon,  Maggie,  her- 
self, bringing  out  extra  dainties  for  her. 

"I'll  think  when  I'm  way  up  North  of  yer. 
'Though  I  don't  know  how  to  thank  yer  in  words, 
I  do  thank  yer  in  my  heart  fer  havin'  been  so 
good  to  we  uns,"  said  Carol  to  Maggie. 

"  Go  'long,  chile.  I  ain't  done  nothin',  nohow. 
It's  all  Missy  Beth." 

"  I  know  yer  only  does  hit  fer  me  'cause  of  her, 
an' " 

"  I  don't  do  it  for  her  only.  Ever  since  yo' 
sang  that  day,  yo'  sang  yo'self  right  into  my 
heart,  chile."  Maggie  was  surprised  at  herself 
for  owning  as  much,  but  now  that  Carol  was 
going  away  she  wanted  a  favor  of  her,  and  was 
leading  up  to  the  subject.     "  When  yo'  sings,  it's 

Northward  Bound  347 

jes'  like  I  wuz  back  in  Floridah,  an'  de  sun  am 
sbinin'  an'  thar  ain't  nothin'  to  bother  this  ole 
black  woman.  Would  you  mind,  chile,  singin' 
jes'  once  more  f er  me  ?  " 

"  Would  yer  really  like  me  to  sing  ?  "  Carol 
was  very  much  pleased  that  she  could  do  some- 
thing for  Maggie,  so  she  sat  down  on  a  rock  and 
with  Maggie  near  by,  began  one  of  her  bird 

Attracted  by  her  singing,  the  other  campers 
came  noiselessly  to  listen,  but  Carol  was  not  dis- 
turbed, as  she  was  only  thinking  of  pleasing 

On  and  on  she  sang,  pondering  over  what  Mag- 
gie had  said  about  the  sun  shining,  and  there 
being  no  trouble.  The  joyousness  of  the  picture 
rang  forth  in  her  notes,  while  the  sound  from  the 
flowing  falls  made  a  pleasing  accompaniment. 

Their  applause,  as  she  finished,  embarrassed  her 
so  that  she  did  not  know  what  to  say  or  do. 

"  Carol,  if  you  only  apply  yourself,  you'll  make 
a  very  fine  singer.  You  must  be  very  thankful, 
because  this  great  opportunity  has  come  to  you," 
cried  Mrs.  Davenport,  enthusiastically. 

"I  am  thankful,"  murmured  Carol,  and  then  she 
tried  to  say  what  she  had  been  thinking  for  a 
long  time.  "  Hit's  'cause  yer  gal  wuz  so  power- 
ful good  that  everythin'  nice  has  happened.  'Fore 
I  go,  I'd  like  to  tell  you  uns  what  I  think,  but  I 
can't  do  hit — it."     So  overcome  was  she  that  she 

348         A  Maid  of  the  Mountains 

fled  toward  the  falls.  Beth  flew  after  her,  as  she 
wished  to  be  with  her  protege  every  moment  of 
Carol's  few  remaining  hours  in  camp. 

"  Beth  has  been  good  to  her,  but  there  is  another 
point  to  consider,"  said  Mrs.  Davenport  to  her 
husband.  "  This  opportunity  would  never  have 
come  to  Carol  if  God  had  not  given  her  a  won- 
derful voice ;  Mrs.  Morton  told  me  so  herself. 
What  will  that  voice  do  for  Carol  ?  It  will  proba- 
bly raise  her  above  the  position  of  her  birth,  but 
will  doing  this  be  a  real  blessing  ?  I  feel  a  great 
responsibility  about  the  child,  for  Beth's  enter- 
tainment brought  Carol's  voice  to  the  notice  of 
Mrs.  Morton." 

Maggie  answered  before  Mr.  Davenport  could 

"Don't  yo'  worry,  Miss  Mary.  Dat  voice 
couldn't  be  nothin'  but  a  blessin'.  Why  it  melted 
dis  dry,  ole  heart  ob  mine  'til  dere's  nothin'  I 
wouldn't  do  for  dat  chile.  Den  'sides  her  voice, 
Carol  has  a  heart  ob  gold.  I  didn't  see  it  at  f urst 
myself,  not  even  dough  Missy  Beth  did,  but  now 
I  do,  an'  I'm  proud  ob  Missy  Beth  fer  'scoverin' 
Carol  ob  Carolina,  a  rale  progidy."